Inter Korean trade falls in 2009

According to Yonhap:

Trade between South and North Korea plunged nearly 25 percent in the first four months of this year amid growing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a report showed Tuesday.

Inter-Korean trade amounted to US$426.35 million during the January-April period, down 24.8 percent from $566.92 million a year earlier, according to the report by the Korea Customs Service.

The decline comes as tensions mounted after North Korea fired a rocket on April 5, prompting the U.N. Security Council to unanimously condemn the move. The North responded by kicking out outside nuclear inspectors and quitting six-party denuclearization talks.

Trade between the two Koreas, which amounted to $328.65 million in 1999, surged more than five-fold to $1.79 billion in 2007 when leaders from the two sides met for the second time. Last year, trade inched up to $1.82 billion.

Experts say that trade is expected to fall further in months to come as tensions are still running high after the North conducted its second nuclear test last month in defiance of repeated warnings by the international community and recently sentenced two U.S. journalists to 12 years in a labor camp for illegally entering the country.

In addition, we pointed out earlier this month that the South Korean government had barely touched the funds it appropriated for inter-Korean projects in 2009.

Finally, although inter-Korean trade has floundered this year, the DPRK’s trade volume reached a record US$3.8 billion in 2008, due largely to its trade with China.  

Read the full Yonhap story here:
Inter-Korean trade tumbles amid growing tensions
Koh Byung-joon


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