Korea rush? China hustles to jump-start North’s stalled economy

by WorldTribune Staff, June 22, 2018

Hundreds of Chinese companies are flocking to North Korea as sanctions show signs of loosening amid Kim Jong-Un’s pledge of denuclearization.

The 2018 Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair

Beijing may be looking to counter the initiative taken by the U.S. at the historic Singapore summit, during which President Donald Trump presented Kim with a vision and video for a prosperous North Korea.

The rush of Chinese enterprises into North Korea came after Kim met with Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping in Beijing and Dalian three times in recent weeks. The two leaders have reportedly discussed ways to rebuild the North’s economy, Yonhap noted in a June 22 report.

Related: China opens new air routes, tourism to North Korea after Kim Jong-Un visit, June 21, 2018

About 200 Chinese firms participated in the Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair held in the North’s capital from May 23-25 to discuss cooperation with North Korean public enterprises in fields such as agriculture, electronics, machinery, construction, food, daily necessities and drainage, said the sources, the report said.

The Pyongyang trade fair drew 260 corporate participants from 15 countries this year – 70 percent of which were from China.

The Chinese companies participated in Pyongyang’s trade fair soon after Kim and Xi met in Dalian “in an apparent indication of Beijing’s moves to ease sanctions on the North. There is talk that discussions on economic cooperation are already under way between Chinese and North Korean companies,” a source told Yonhap.

The source noted the large-scale Chinese participation in the Pyongyang trade fair was also linked to a ranking North Korean delegation’s 11-day tour of China’s major economic hubs in May. The North Korean delegates visited sites of China’s economic development and reportedly discussed cooperation with officials in Shanghai and Shaanxi Province, Xi’s birthplace.

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