China Says Trade With North Korea Grew Only 10.5% In First 6 Months Of 2017

Tyler Durden's picture

New data released by the Chinese government suggests trade with its restive neighbor, North Korea, has only increased by a modest degree since the beginning of the year, rebutting criticisms from President Donald Trump and UN ambassador Nikki Haley that the world's second-largest economy is undermining US efforts to curb trade with the North.

A Chinese official said Thursday that China's trade with isolated North Korea rose more than 10 percent in the January-June period from a year earlier, according to Reuters. The data show a sharp decline in trade in April, May and June after data released by China Customs in April showed a 37.4 percent increase in trade with North Korea in the first quarter of 2017. However, data released a week ago by China's Ministry of Commerce show trade between the two countries grew by 13.7 percent from January to May, suggesting a significant dip since April, according to CNBC.

Trump has leaned on China to curb trade that might help support North Korea’s nuclear program - even coaxing the Communist Party to verbally commit its support for "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearize of the Korean Peninsula. But Chinese reluctance to act against their longtime ally forced the US’s hand last month, when it introduced sanctions against 10 Chinese entities suspected of helping support the North’s nuclear program.

The data appear to support China’s claims that it is fully enforcing United Nations sanctions on nuclear-armed North Korea and there is nothing wrong with what it terms "normal" trade with Pyongyang, referring to areas not covered by sanctions.

Chinese customs spokesman Huang Songping told a briefing on China's overall trade figures that total trade with North Korea expanded by 10.5 percent to $2.55 billion in the first six months of the year. While China's imports from North Korea dropped 13.2 percent to $880 million in the period from January to June, exports to North Korea rose 29.1 percent to $1.67 billion, he said.


The exports were largely driven by textile products and other traditional labor-intensive goods not included on the United Nations embargo list, Huang added.


'As neighbors, China and North Korea maintain normal business and trade exchanges,' he said, adding that goods for ordinary people and those used for humanitarian reasons are not subject to sanctions."

Reuters said that overall trade with North Korea declined in June, compared with previous second-quarter months, while trade in dollar terms with North Korea rose about 12% from the previous month to $499 million. In May, trade with North Korea gained 14.5 percent from April to $443.5 million, previously released customs data show.

As a Chinese government spokesman noted, China has complied with UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea  - though, in its role as a permanent member of the security council, the North’s only major ally has worked persistently to soften international sanctions against the hermit kingdom and its officials. It is also responsible for 90% of trade with North Korea.

Numbers showing an increase are not evidence that China is failing to enforce UN resolutions, with imports from North Korea falling every month since March, Huang added. China suspended imports of North Korean coal in February, while imports of iron ore accord with relevant U.N. resolutions, he said.


'China customs have all along fully, accurately, conscientiously and strictly enforced relevant Security Council resolutions.'"

Relations between China and the US have cooled in recent weeks – a development highlighted by the North’s July 4 test of its first genuine ICBM. Late last month, the US antagonized the Chinese by finalizing a $1.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan in defiance of its longstanding "one China" policy.

While China has been angered by North Korea's repeated nuclear and missile tests, it also blames the US and South Korea for worsening tensions with their military exercises, while not doing enough to open talks with the North Koreans, as Beijing has proposed. China's Foreign Ministry this week urged a halt to what it called the "China responsibility theory" on North Korea, saying all parties needed to pull their weight, according to Reuters.

Trade between China and North Korea has declined in both 2015 and 2016, a senior government-backed academic said in a front-page comment in the overseas edition of the official People's Daily on Wednesday.

In this particularly trying time for US-China relations, US officials would do well to remain well alert – particularly after Guo Wengui, a billionaire investor who fled China and moved to New York after becoming a major critic of the Chinese regime, revealed that Chinese intelligence might have more than 25,000 deep-cover operatives in the US. Their primary mission is to steal military technologies. But they’re also here to “buy” high level government officials, as well as political and corporate elites who can give China favorable business deals.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
armada's picture

Correction: China is the No 1 economy, not 2nd. Google it if you don't believe it.

NewHugh's picture

Shhh! No facts here please!  We're trying to justify a war!

Schmuck Raker's picture

GAzhAP tell us that GDP is worthless.

moimeme's picture

"trying time for US-China relations"

Ditto for US-Russia relations, US-MidEast relations (except IsraHell of course), US-European relations, etc.

The US is pissing off everyone.

Schmuck Raker's picture

" Google it if you don't believe it."

Did you start reading ZH AFTER registering to comment?

Nexus789's picture

I agree with that. US GDP figures are sexed uo by non productive tranactions - finance, health, etc.

Schmuck Raker's picture

China isn't buying as many N Korean slaves?

MuffDiver69's picture

Why would this make a difference...This entire situation is an excuse to finally do what China does not want to hear and it was mentioned in Paris today "reciprocal trade"...Essy enough and no trade war..Steel and Aluminum will be first....Anyone who disagrees with a country actually having an industrial base to support subsistence level when it all crashes is stupid.....10% or 40%, who gives a rats ass and they lie worse then mudslimes anywho..

ebworthen's picture

Sure, "nutting to see heare!"

Proxy war since it started, China happy for it to continue.

Tarriff their shipments to the U.S. at 40% and let's see what happens.

And they claim Taiwan as their own.  Funny!  That is where the real Chinse went post WWII!

Déjà view's picture

Holding $2T U.S. debt & $350 p.a. trade surplus with their best customer...NOT very wise to upset seemingly advantageous relationship...

Gen. Ripper's picture

Chinese owe us $1T plus interest from WW-2

Fartboxbuffet's picture

I once went into a chinese resturant in my hometown some how i gained acess to kitchen by accident like 10 or 12 people back there working black flys flying around on food dirt under there finger nails fukin nasty chinks i will never eat chinese(western)food again and ive heard Several cases like this they are filthy

Déjà view's picture

Good thing you did not see cat skins in dumpster...

NobodyNowhere's picture

Or cockroach-like creatures in pickle jars

Lost in translation's picture

Defections are up over the past several weeks, here.

One NK guy took two big blocks of styrofoam, cut holes through it so his arms could get through, and swam down the Han River. They found him all the way down in Gimpo.

Last month a DPRK soldier literally walked through the DMZ minefield and gave himself up. College-age corporal. Said recent wildfires in the DMZ led him to believe the mines wouldn't work. Evidently he was right. Or God loves him.

Group of fisherman whose fishing boat motor broke down floated south of the NLL, RoK Coast Guard picked them up. Some decided to stay, others wanted to go back.

Laughing.Man's picture

North Korea isn't a threat to anyone but to themselves.  They know they'd be wiped off the face of the Earth if they do anything stupid.  Frankly, I'm sick and tired of hearing what (((the Swamp))) thinks.

Déjà view's picture

DPRK cannot rub 2 coins together to purchase a pair of cheap thin gauged Walmart jumper cables for their mothballed MIG fleet...and...ONE leaky submarine...

Nexus789's picture

The only threat to the US is the stupidity of the US. Everyone outside the US is in awe of the level of stupidity being deployed.

Soul Glow's picture

One of my favorite things about finance and economics is in the end predictions are right or wrong and the truth always becomes evident.  When we look at China it has been a bull in a, well, china shop.  Over a billion people live there, and sure, some of them are making money, some are making lots of it, but most are poor peasants that have no promise of upward mobility.  The goods they make are most often cheap, and they are sucking resources like no tomorrow.  Their housing market is a litteral facade.  Nothing they are doing is generating real growth.

So for people to think that this "economic miracle" will be the engine of growth for the next few decades is nonsense.  They are also using the fiat ponzi to issue debt to further inflation denominated "growth" which is nothing short than peddling economic lies.  My favorite thing people have been saying is that they are going to go to a gold standard because they want their currency to have a backing.  That they will send gold skyrocketing in price.  Nothing is further from the truth.  If you watch it is often the asian trading session that crushes gold and silver.  Every government in the world wants to continue the fiat ponzi.  Sure, they all have thousands of tonnes of gold to hedge with, but they do not want to rachet up the price sooner than later and will wait for the systemic collpse until they have high gold prices.

This is because they want to perpetuate the lies of growth while the rich siphon off real wealth from middle class folk into their banks.  This may not last the year or could go another 5 years, they don't know and neither do we, but the longer it goes the better for them.  At the same time the longer it goes the better for gold and silver buyers.  We have the opportunity of a lifetime to get into real wealth - precious metals - at historical lows visa vi inflation and other price measurements.  DOn't sell you house and go all in gold, but definately have it as a hedge or even a main investment.  Good luck and good night. 

roddy6667's picture

Your statements about are mostly false and show your ignorance. Most of the peope are poor peasants? 54% are now middle class, measured by Western standards. Unlike the US, the middle class is growing. The poor have come the farthest. The rich are getting richer. It is easier to start a company and get rich in China than in Americaa.

"No promoise of upward mobility? More bullshit. Everybody knows they are better off than 10 or 20 years ago. The American middle class has backslid to 1967 levels in buying power.

Housing market is a facade? I own a home here and I track prices everywhere I travel to in China. The average family can still afford a home here. They buy them every day of the week. The bubble markets in Beijing, Shanghai, and HK are not representative of the entire country. You wouldn't know that. New homes are sold as a concrete shell here. Another 20% is required to finish them. When I completed mine, I was amazed by the style, quality and variety available.

Almost everythig wrote about China is wrong. Have you ever even been within 7000 miles of the country? What is your motive? Are you trying to compensate for living in a failed economy like America's? 



Déjà view's picture

Not anyone ever mentions...plastic rice/seaweed...after passing through gut...reused over & over...great for extra 2B earthlings added within next generation...

What a wonderful idea!

Soul Glow's picture

You must be an OG.  That article ran on ZH in like 2011.  

Soul Glow's picture

Haha ok sure because you live there you know best.  Just like most Americans think our economy is doing well.  Keep drinking the Chinese koolaid and subscribing to its propaganda.

roddy6667's picture

Typical American. Ignorant and proud of it. If you ever left your trailer park, you would discover that the world is much different than your handlers tell you.

You will never travel. You will always believe what you are told to believe.

Déjà view's picture

Many 'Aliens' in China? Must be mafan...

More similarities between China with U.S. than Europe...

jcaz's picture

LOL- you sound like every Ponzi schmuck who ever drank their own Kool-Aid.

Oh, you "travel" China, huh?  How long does that take, exactly?

"The bubble markets in Beijing, Shanghai, and HK are not representative of the entire country";

Oh really???

What % of China GDP do these three represent?   Oops.....

You're just another clueless worker ant, spouting the company line-  you're too afraid to admit that you're propping up your phony economy, and your posts reek of desperation.  

The smart Ponzi money has already left China-  you left-behinds think it's gonna happen for you, too-  WRONG.  It's how these deals work,  and 10 years from now you'll still be sitting in your State apartment, wondering what happened......

If you really think that you're an island , then have a ball-  I'll live without your shitty Nikes and cheap Walmart bikes clogging up my world.  

Honestly, I'd have a higher opinion of China if you simply produced anything of value.  But all I've ever seen is sub-standard cutting-corners crap and knockoff shit, and that applies to everything from finance to tooling.  Your shit is a constant source of embarrassment, and if you had any pride at all, you'd build something better than the modern Yugo and sell it around the world....   But you don't.

Critical thinking, dude- try it sometime, if your masters allow you.....

sinbad2's picture

One of my favorite things about finance and economics is in the end predictions are right or wrong and the truth always becomes evident.  When we look at USA it has been a bull in a, well, china shop.  Over 300 million people live there, and sure, some of them are making money, some are making lots of it, but most are poor peasants that have no promise of upward mobility. 

truthalwayswinsout's picture

All it takes is a boycott of China. The Communists in China would be put against the wall and shot.

Notice I said the Communists in China... too bad we can't do that to our communists.

Caloot's picture

Hahaha.   A boycot of China..




Gonna put a bunch of millennial to work in factories!!



sinbad2's picture

Yep that's what China wants, they would love the US to boycott them, they are daring you to do it.

BrownCoat's picture

How do you know when a Chinese spokesman is lying?

When the spokesman's lips are moving.


How is it the missile shelters, air fields and radar in the Spratly Islands have no military purpose?

Answer: China has zero credibility.

Bunga Bunga's picture

10.5% must be the ICBMs.

goldenbuddha454's picture

There's nothing like a denying enabler.

Dilluminati's picture

What part of a bad deal with China do people not understand?

Build that Wall!

Build that Wall!

Build that Wall!

Old Poor Richard's picture

This "rebuts" the criticism how?  If trade goes up when the goal is for it to go down, that's pretty much undermining the goal.  It's not that China is required to go along with US sanctions, but they can't claim to be cooperating or "not undermining" when plainly they are not cooperating and definitely are undermining sanctions.