The provincial party committee of Yanggang Province recently discussed the issue of Sino-North Korean trade with local traders, Daily NK has learned. 

In a telephone conversation with Daily NK on Tuesday, a source in Yanggang Province said the provincial party committee recently discussed the future of trade in the province, saying that trade must contribute to the nation’s five-year economic plan. The discussion was held on Dec. 20.

According to the source, the provincial party committee said the failure of trade to develop over the past two years due to COVID-19 has greatly impacted economic construction in the province, and asked which sector would be most critical if trade were to restart.

Answering its own question, the committee said that realistically speaking, the most pressing issue is food, with public food shortages reaching a peak.

The source said the committee also pointed to blocked provisions of raw materials and supplies in all areas of economic activity and serious energy shortages. The committee said discussions of trade must focus on these problems, essentially calling for traders to resolve food shortages and normalize enterprise operations by promptly restarting trade.

Hyesan killed
A view of Hyesan, Yanggang Province, from the Chinese side of the border. / Image: Daily NK

However, the source said the committee focused more on “system compliance.” It told traders that they must abandon rushed “campaigns” and deeply analyze trade as it involves the import and export of the state’s foreign exchange.

Moreover, it criticized officials in higher-level work units for personal and institutional selfishness, bragging about their “special” status. This well worn practice must be “uprooted,” it said.

The committee targeted corruption as well. Officials said they would show no forgiveness for traders collaborating with certain individuals to “mix goods” that have nothing to do with the national economy into their imports. It warned that “non-socialist and anti-socialist behavior” would face punishment by the party, administrative organs, or through the legal system.

Meanwhile, the provincial party committee offered no proper explanation as to when trade will restart. However, inside North Korea, people continue to speculate that a resumption of trade remains far off as Yanggang Province still lacks quarantine facilities.

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.