Smuggling in Sino-North Korean border region spikes following Kim Jong Un’s China visit
Smuggling in the Sino-North Korean border region has peaked following Kim Jong Un’s fourth visit (Jan. 7-10) to China in the past year. The North Korean authorities have been involved in smuggling, including the buying and selling of minerals and oil, violating international sanctions.
“Copper and zinc concentrate produced in the Hyesan Mine (in Masan-dong) is being smuggled en masse into China,” said a Ryanggang Province-based source on January 14. “After Kim Jong Un’s last trip to China, smuggling crackdowns have relaxed a bit.”
North Korea’s Kangsong Trading Company, Yonun Company, and Mirim Company, among others, have received rights to export minerals on behalf of the North Korean government and are buying concentrated minerals (i.e. material without impurities) from mines and individual mine workers. The companies are paying six yuan per kilo and sending 100-ton batches of the concentrate into China. according to the source.
He continued, noting that “after the leader’s visit, a lot of minerals have been going into China. People living near the Hyesan Mine are earning a living by selling their own concentrate.”
The Rearguard General Bureau and the 8th General Bureau under the North Korean military and South Korea Liaison Office, among other organizations, have been setting up stations in Masan Mine (in Kanggu-dong, Hyesan) and, with permission from the government, exporting minerals to China while importing diesel and petroleum into North Korea, a separate source in Ryanggang Province said. ......