State Smuggling Rings Encouraged by Pyongyang

Lee Sung Jin  |  2009-06-29 14:46
Changchun, China -- The North Korean authorities, reportedly concerned by the possibility that China might be tempted to limit trade with its neighbor, have issued instructions through the National Security Agency (NSA) which inform the relevant parties that if such a situation were to occur, the problem would have to be solved by smuggling in the necessary goods.

A source from Yangkang Province told Daily NK on the 28th, While the authorities here were discussing importing window frames from China for the construction of apartment complexes in Hyesan, they received instructions from the Central Committee of the Party. They said that if Chinese customs prohibits importation, the National Security Agency must solve the problem by smuggling the window frames instead.

However, the source added, No one actually thinks China will block trade with us right now. It was just to prepare ourselves for the possibility in advance, because China regulated many things, even food and secondhand clothes, after our nuclear test of a few years ago.

However, he reconfirmed, For the time being, there is no trade problem with China. Imports and exports with China are all active.

However, China is coming under pressure to stick to the letter of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1874, and expressed a higher than usual degree of dissatisfaction with North Korean behavior in recent months.

According to the source, there are three or four NSA smuggling rings in the border regions of the Yalu River between Hwajeon-ri in Hyesan and Bocheon, Yangkang Province. Recently they have been bringing in special steel to make rock drills for mines, lubricant oil for the maintenance of several kinds of batteries and the latest models of computers.

The source said, The smuggling rings are dealing with things which might fall foul of regulations; things which are presumably tough to get through the Chinese customs houses legally. If normal trade becomes more difficult due to Chinese action in the customs houses, the NSA rings will be expanded.

Each smuggling ring brings in three or four six-ton truckloads of materials per day from China. When they import particularly important products, they transport them escorted by border guards.

He explained further, The NSA smuggling rings have been worked with Chinese traders for a long time, and utilize these agents to earn foreign currency. The state also encourages them to smuggle things because smuggling is much cheaper than legal trade through the Chinese customs houses.
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