Kim Jon Un’s dependence on China’s illegal business networks and Beijing’s aid increases as the North Korean leader faces the country’s worst economic crisis in nearly a decade
The 36-year-old dictator said last month that North Korea was struggling to meet its economic goals. It was a rare admission of failure and a blow to its economic growth policy coupled with the development of nuclear weapons, a dual path known as the “byungjin line”, writes the Financial Times today.
The combination of harsh sanctions from the United States and the UN, together with the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent fall in legal trade with China – as well as a series of recent typhoons and floods – has increased the importance of revenue from the United States. Koreans who do business in other countries, remittances from foreign workers and money from cyber crime.
A report published this month by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a London-based think-tank, found that a network of 150 Chinese companies played a central role in facilitating North Korea’s access to international markets. They were involved in about $ 2.7 billion in remittances to Pyongyang between 2014 and 2017, representing about 20 percent of North Korea’s $ 14 billion worth of trade during that period.
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