Archive for the ‘Oil’ Category

Recent developments in Rason

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

A new article in Forbes updates us on some of the changes in Rason:

Tomas Novotny has been in North Korea two days, and he looks frazzled. It was a long journey from Prague, and standing on the street in downtown Rajin, his government minder by his side, he can already see that doing business in the DPRK’s remote northeast will present an unusual set of challenges.

Novotny is here because of that railway line. A brewing technologist with the Czech firm Zvu Potez, he has come to set up a brewery. All the equipment and materials were transported by train–from Prague to Moscow, through Siberia and onto the branch line of the Trans-Korean main line.

“We’re still building the brewery. Come and see it,” says Novotny. The two containers that brought the Zvu Potez equipment from Prague lie 50 meters from the brewery. It’s a great location by the sea in Rajin’s main park. The business is a joint venture between the Czech firm and the Rason regional government, says Novotny, and will target tourists and foreigners. There are about 300 Western tourists–including Russians–a year and about 20,000 Chinese visitors to the country’s northeast.

“When they’ve finished building,” he says, shouting over the drilling, “I’m going to teach three or four locals how to brew. I hope they can speak English. If they can’t it will be interesting.”

He expects to be in Rason for six months establishing the business, but already he misses home and his young son. “I won’t get to speak to them until I go home at Christmas,” he says.

North Korea’s telecommunications challenges are a headache for business, too. Foreigners are able to get 3G on their phones, but it is expensive. International calls are possible but equally pricey.

“When telecommunications become a little more open that will indicate the seriousness of purpose,” says Andray Abrahamian, who directs Choson Exchange, a Singaporean nonprofit that focuses on business and legal training for young North Koreans in the DPRK.

Abrahamian has been watching North Korea for a decade and visited Rason several times. He says things are finally moving, a result of legal changes made in 2010 that helped make Rason more autonomous. Further legal changes two years ago were intended to harmonize Rason’s economic laws with those of China, he says.

“The degree to which [Pyongyang] will allow autonomy to the regional decision makers or local planners has yet to be seen. That’s a key issue for Rason–how autonomous are these places really?” asks Abrahamian, 36.

“Chinese small and medium-size enterprises, from Jilin Province but also Heilongjiang Province, are continuing to come in–Rason is experiencing growth,” says Abrahamian.

Not all the factories are new. The Rajin Garment Factory was built in 1958, long before talk of special economic zones. In the early days it produced school uniforms for North Korean students. After 1991 it took orders from China and today employs 180 staff.

The factory manager stands on the front steps. It’s early evening, and he’s watching a staff volleyball game in the car park. Has business improved since Rason was made a special economic zone?

He shrugs and says: “It’s hard to say. It’s different. For every school uniform we used to get paid 800 won and a 1,200-won government subsidy. Now there is no government subsidy.”

The workers, nearly all women, are given housing and paid 600? to 700 won a month, plus overtime, he says. Inside the factory, on the first floor, close to 100 women are clocking overtime. Wearing blue uniforms and matching head scarves, they are sewing puffer jackets, hurrying to complete a big order. The final step of the process is to sew in the label: “Made in China.”

The tag is written in English, and the woman packing the jackets doesn’t understand the visitors’ raised eyebrows. Apparently this is a common practice.

It’s noisy on the factory floor. The popular all-girl band Moranbong blasts out of speakers, drowning out the whir of sewing machines. It’s impossible to hear the drone of the generator, switched on after yet another power failure, a regular feature of life in the DPRK.

There is a deal in place to bring power from Jilin Province, but the Chinese have been holding it up using the pretext of an environmental impact study.

More Chinese power can’t hurt, says researcher Melvin, “but there are many more substantive problems the North Korean must overcome before serious large-scale investment can move into the country. The DPRK cannot currently credibly commit to any policy–no policy stability, rule of law–and has a poor record of honoring its agreements and impartially enforcing contracts. No independent company will risk serious capital in this environment.”

Another matter is fuel. Joseph Naemi is director of HBOil, an oil trading and refining company based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. HBOil grabbed a few headlines in June when it was reported the firm had acquired a 20% stake in Sungri oil refinery in Rason. That was premature, says Naemi: HBOil has 20% of a state-dominated joint venture called Korean Oil Exploration Corp. International, and a formal commitment with Sungri has yet to be made. Another option is to invest in a refinery on the west coast of the DPRK.

“The easy option is Sungri oil refinery because it’s based on Russian technology and because of its location in terms of the dynamic state of affairs in Rason Special Economic Zone. We are conducting engineering assessment of the refinery to determine the various phases of upgrading and expanding–it’s a work in progress,” says Naemi.

Describing Rason officials as well educated and smart, he says they understand issues of foreign investment protection, taxation and the need to not only be fiscally transparent but also to offer attractive terms to investors.

“I know a number of Mongolian companies, all privately owned, that are at various stages of either investing in North Korea or finalizing their joint ventures so that they can invest. There is a robust relationship between Mongolia and North Korea,” says Naemi.

For anyone doing business, there will be surprises. Standing on the terrace of the new brewery, Novotny looks out at the recently planted lawn. The seeds have been planted in rows, five centimeters apart, all the way down to the sea. Come summer and the warmer weather, the grass should have taken. It stands to be a great spot for a bar.

“Yeah, if we’re still open,” says Novotny and laughs. He drops his voice and out of earshot of his minder adds: “Look at the grass, see how it grows in such straight lines. Things are different here.”

Read the full story here:
Things are Brewing in North Korea’s Rason Zone
Forbes
Kate Whitehead
2013-11-20

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DPRK-China trade up 4.4% (Jan-Sept) despite sanctions

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s trade with China gained 4.4 percent from a year ago in the first nine months of this year, new data showed Tuesday, raising questions about the effectiveness of sanctions put in place to punish the North for conducting its third nuclear test earlier this year.

Trade volume rose to US$4.69 billion between January and September from $4.49 billion for the same period last year, according to the data released by the China Customs Information Center.

The data, seen by Yonhap News Agency, showed that North Korea’s exports to China jumped 9.4 percent to $2.09 billion during the nine-month period, while its imports from China fell 2.3 percent to $2.6 billion.

A South Korean diplomatic source in Beijing suspected that North Korea’s shortage of hard currency might be a factor for the decline in imports.

“North Korea’s lack of foreign currency may be partly attributable to the fall in imports of Chinese goods,” the source said on the condition of anonymity.

During the first nine months of this year, North Korea’s imports of Chinese crude oil, however, rose to 415,000 tons, compared with 402,000 tons for the same period last year.

China did not export crude oil to North Korea in June and July this year, but resumed crude exports in August, according to the source.

In August and September, China exported 165,000 tons of crude oil to North Korea, the source said.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea-China trade up 4.4 pct in Jan.-Sept. despite sanctions
Yonhap
2
013-11-5

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China acts to curb DPRK oil imports

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

According to the Asahi Shimbun:

China is holding petroleum that was heading to North Korea from Iran in an apparent attempt by Beijing to maintain its control over Pyongyang, sources said.

According to Chinese sources, the petroleum was part of North Korea’s contract to import about 500,000 tons of condensate, a light oil, from Iran. North Korea, seeking to diversify its energy sources, started discussions on the deal last year.

The agreement was reached with the cooperation of a major Chinese state-run petroleum company.

The condensate is believed to have been shipped from Iran over a number of occasions on tankers registered to a third nation. But Chinese authorities ordered the tankers to stop when they reached the Chinese coast in the Yellow Sea this spring.

The ships were then towed to ports in Dalian, Liaoning province, and Qingdao, Shandong province. Sources said the condensate remains in those ports, which have restricted access to outsiders.

China is believed to have asked North Korea to pay about $2 million (about 196 million yen) for storage expenses.

“Once China realized that North Korea was beginning to depend on Iran for petroleum, China began using various measures to remain engaged so it can maintain its influence over North Korea,” a diplomatic source knowledgeable about relations between China and North Korea said.

Under the North Korea-Iran contract, Pyongyang is to pay Tehran for the condensate, but the condensate itself must be first sent to a Chinese state-run petroleum company.

“Because North Korea does not have the most advanced refineries, it had to ask China to refine the condensate,” a source in the petroleum industry said.

It is unclear what legal basis China is using for holding up the shipments because condensate and other petroleum products needed for daily living are not banned under U.N. economic sanctions imposed against North Korea.

However, one source involved in the transaction said, “As part of the economic sanctions that were imposed against military actions taken by North Korea, inspections were carried out by Chinese authorities, which asked that the petroleum be kept at the port.”

Until now, China is said to have provided about 80 percent of the petroleum used in North Korea. The main means of transport were through a pipeline that runs along the Yalu River between the border of the two nations as well as by ship.

According to Chinese customs statistics, the export volume was about 520,000 tons a year.

“Not only has a ban on petroleum export shipments been imposed by China, but the total import volume through the pipeline has also been reduced to one-third the level of the same period of the previous year,” a source involved in trade between China and North Korea was told by a North Korean government source in September.

China remains North Korea’s biggest backer, even with the contract with Iran.

Read the full story here:
China holding up shipment of Iranian petroleum to North Korea
Asahi Shimbun
Koichiro Ishida
2013-10-20

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DPRK’s Minister of Trade releases information on recent foreign economic cooperation at forum in China

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-9-12

After North Korea’s launch of a long-range rocket in December 2012 and third nuclear test in February 2013, China endorsed UN sanctions against North Korea. Consequently, North Korea appears to be increasing its economic cooperation with Mongolia and Russia.

On September 6, the 7th annual Northeast Asia joint high-level forum was held in Changchun (Jilin Province), China. Ku Bon Tae of the DPRK Ministry of Trade is reported to have been present and to have delivered a presentation on North Korea’s recent economic cooperation activities.

Ku stated, “Currently, cooperation between North Korea and Mongolia is making positive progress,” and “the international freight transport coordination issue and Mongolian corporate investments, telecommunications and other cooperation issues at the Rason Special Economic Zone are at the final stages of agreement.”

He added, “We hope more Northeast Asian nations will actively take part in the Rason Special Economic Zone.”

In May, a Mongolian oil companies HB Oil JSC acquired 20 percent stake in North Korea’s state-run Sungri oil refinery. In July, the two countries signed an agreement on information and communication cooperation and exchanges. In addition, Mongolian experts in the field of livestock are said to be involved in North Korea’s Sepho tableland (Gangwon Province) reclamation project, which seeks to create a large stockbreeding complex.

As for economic cooperation with Russia, the Khassan–Rajin railway — part of an international container rail transport line connecting Russia and North Korea and linking Northeast Asia to Europe — has its opening ceremony scheduled for this month after having received extensive reconstruction. Russia also has a long-term lease on Rajin Port’s pier No. 3. Russia has been renovating the pier, and renovations are expected to be completed by the end of this year.

North Korea and Russia plan to develop Khassan–Rajin rail line and Rajin Port in order to transport cargo from Asia to Europe: as containers arrive at Rajin Port, they are moved to the Khassan-Rajin railway and then transferred to the Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR), headed for Europe.

Ku further added, “After the projects are completely finished friendly cooperation between Russia and North Korea and international transport pathway will be opened connecting Asia to Europe through the development of economic and trade relations between the two countries.”

In Ku’s speech, the public economic cooperation with regards to China was covered briefly, and exclude the recent progress made. He commented only on the establishment of Joint Management Committees in Rason and Hwanggeumpyeong economic zones and that banks of the two countries are in the process of negotiating the usage of Chinese renminbi as the currency of trade.

Ku emphasized, “As with our past, our Republic hopes to promote independence, peace and friendship between Northeast Asian countries in the future, based on our foreign policy and will make every effort to further develop and expand this friendly cooperative relationship.”

The 9th China–Northeast Asia Expo opening ceremony was also held (in Changchun) on the same day as the forum. Political and business leaders from China, South and North Korea, Russia, Japan, and Mongolia were present at the event.

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DPRK – China trade falls in Q2 2013

Monday, August 12th, 2013

According to Yonhap:

North Korea’s trade with China fell 6 percent on-year in the first six months of this year, apparently hit by Beijing’s tougher stance against Pyongyang’s nuclear program, a senior Seoul diplomat said Monday.

The North’s trade with China stood at US$2.95 billion in the January-June period, compared with $3.14 billion a year earlier, said the diplomat at the South Korean Embassy in Beijing.

Exports to China rose 6 percent to $1.36 billion, while imports declined 14 percent to $1.59 billion, the diplomat said on the condition of anonymity, citing official data.

“The drop in overall North Korea-China trade in the first six months of this year appears to be affected by tighter inspections by Chinese customs authorities,” the diplomat said.

North Korea’s imports of Chinese crude oil slipped 15 percent from a year ago to 250,000 tons during the six-month period, according to the data.

In particular, the North’s imports of food from China plunged 65 percent to 120,000 tons for the January-June period, the data showed.

Coal shipments from North Korea to China rose 18 percent to 8.33 million tons for the six-month period, despite falling coal prices, according to the data. Coal accounted for 54.8 percent of the North’s total exports to China during the period.

“With the Chinese economy expected to slow down in the second half of this year, China’s demand for North Korean coal is likely to decline,” the diplomat said.

China has become increasingly frustrated with North Korea, particularly after the North’s third nuclear test in February. Beijing voted in favor of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council to punish Pyongyang for conducting the nuclear test.

In May, the Bank of China closed accounts with North Korea’s Foreign Trade Bank, which was accused by the U.S. of helping finance the North’s nuclear weapons program.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s trade with China drops 6 pct in H1: diplomat
Yonahp
2013-8-12

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DPRK – China trade drops 2.3%

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

According to Yonhap:

Trade between North Korea and China contracted 2.3 percent on-year in the first five months of 2013 mainly due to Pyongyang importing less from its neighbor, a report showed Tuesday.

The report by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) showed two-way trade at US$2.45 billion in the January-May period, with North Korea’s exports to China growing 6.5 percent on-year to $1.12 billion. The North’s imports from China, however, dropped 8.5 percent to $1.33 billion.

The trade association said the North shipped $613.6 million worth of coal, making it the top export commodity for the communist country, followed by such raw materials as iron and lead ores.

In exchange, the North bought $265 million worth of crude oil, a decrease of 5 percent from January-May of 2012. The country imported $52 million in large cargo-hauling vehicles, as well as flour and soybean oil from its neighbor.

KITA did not elaborate on the reason for the decrease in overall trade volume and the drop in crude oil imports from China.

Related to economic developments in the North, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report that food conditions in the isolationist country remain one of the most precarious in all of Asia.

In its 2012-2013 food security report, which inspected 22 countries in the region, the North came in at the bottom with Afghanistan and Yemen.

The findings, which are used as reference material for food aid provisions by Washington, claimed that while the North was able to produce 7.5 million tons of grain annually up until the early 1990s, this has since plunged to around 4.3 million tons in 2012.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea-China trade drops 2.3 pct: report
Yonhap
2013-7-2

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Mongolian HBOil invests in Sungri petroleum refinery

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

singri-refinery-2012-5-23

Pictured above (Google Earth): The Victory (Sungri) Refinery in Rason, North Korea.

UPDATE 2 (2016-3-25): NK News reports that HBOil refutes the claim in the Joong Ang Daily:

“HBOil JSC … hereby refutes the South Korean publication known as ‘KOREA JOONGANG DAILY’, for irresponsible reporting and dissemination of erroneous news on 23 March 2016; asserting that HBOil JSC has withdrawn from its joint venture in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea,” the statement read.

HBOil also confirmed, “that it remains fully committed to its joint venture with Korea Oil Exploration Corporation (“KOEC”) of the DPRK, and continues its tenacious efforts to progress the joint venture’s ambition for exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources onshore North Korea.”

HBOil entered into a joint venture with North Korea in 2013 and has attempted to make inroads into North Korea’s undeveloped oil and gas sector.

The company has since invested in projects that could give it access to upstream oil and gas production and downstream refinery capacity in the coming years. However there has not been much reported movement on their North Korean project, and the outlook will not have been improved by a 70 percent drop in oil prices since last year.

While the statement affirmed HBOil’s belief that North Korea represents an “exceptional business opportunity” it also stated that the company are reviewing the implications of the recently adopted UN Security Council resolution against the country.

UPDATE 1 (2016-3-23): The Joong Ang Daily reports that HBoil is pulling out of North Korea:

A Mongolian oil company recently decided to withdraw from North Korea, a South Korean government source said, amid growing pressure from the international community after North Korea recently conducted nuclear tests and long-range missile launches.

HBOil JSC, an oil trading and refinery company based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, acquired 20 percent of the North Korean entity Sungri refinery in June 2013, valued at roughly $10 million. In May 2014, the company opened a joint venture in Pyongyang.

The ex-communist country established bilateral ties with the North in 1948, but after this recent decision, the already impoverished North Korea will be further isolated from the international community.

“Mongolia is sending a message to North Korea: don’t fall down the wrong path,” said Nam Sung-wook, professor at Korea University’s Department of North Korean Studies.

North Korea formerly attracted foreign investment to resume operations of the Sungri refinery, which stopped running in 2009, in order to push for economic development. The deal with Mongolia, begun almost three years ago, was taken as evidence that North Korea wass seeking further investment partners-in addition to China.

However, the North Korean government continually delayed the inland oil development project, failing to provide reasonable explanations. Mongolia may therefore have concluded that there was no practical benefit to continuing the project.

Bilateral ties between the two countries recently turned bitter when Mongolian president Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj said Mongolia could not endure the North’s tyranny forever, a remark made during his speech at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang at the end of October 2013.

“No tyranny lasts forever. It is the desire of the people to live free, that is the eternal power,” the president said in his speech. After his remarks, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed disappointment and refused to hold meetings with the Mongolian president.

ORIGINAL POST (2013-6-13): Clarification:   “HBOil has 20% of a state-dominated joint venture called Korean Oil Exploration Corp. International, and a formal commitment with Sungri has yet to be made. Another option is to invest in a refinery on the west coast of the DPRK.”

According to Bloomberg:

HBOil JSC, an oil trading and refining company based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, said it acquired 20 percent of the state-run entity operating North Korea’s Sungri refinery, according to an e-mailed statement yesterday. It intends to supply crude to Sungri, which won’t be fully operational for up to a year, and export the refined products to Mongolia.

“Mongolia has had diplomatic relations with North Korea for many years,” Ulziisaikhan Khudree, HBOil’s chief executive officer, said in a June 12 interview in Ulaanbaatar. “There are certain risks, but other countries do business with North Korea so I am quite optimistic the project will be successful.”

The investment comes as ex-communist Mongolia seeks to power its mining-led boom while offering sanctions-hit North Korea a bridge to economic reforms. Since Swiss-educated Kim Jong Un took over the leadership of the totalitarian regime in December 2011, Mongolia has pledged to help its Soviet-era ally implement an economic transition similar to its own of the 1990s.

Under the transaction, worth as much as $10 million, the Mongolian Stock Exchange-listed HBOil would swap shares for full ownership of Ninox Hydrocarbons (L) Berhad, a private Malaysian company that owns 20 percent of KOEC International Inc., and issue convertible notes to fund investment at Sungri.

The rest of KOEC International is held by North Korea’s national oil company, Korea Oil Exploration Corp., which also has oil production and exploration rights in North Korea.

“This is a chance to take an equity holding in a foreign entity, and will allow us to import petroleum products, which could be lower than the current price,” said HBOil’s Khudree.

HBOil jumped by the daily limit of 15 percent to close at 253 tugrik (18 cents) on the Mongolian stock exchange today.

The deal will be the first purchase by a Mongolian-listed company of a foreign asset, according to Joseph Naemi, chief executive officer of the Ninox parent, Ninox Energy Ltd. The company is in compliance with international sanctions levied against North Korea, he said.

“If the sanctions change, and if they target the oil and gas industry, that would put us out of business, and we will have to comply,” Naemi said. “That is a risk one takes.”

Naemi said he had briefed his North Korean partners on the transaction and that “they are supportive.” No one was available to speak about the deal at North Korea’s embassy in Ulaanbaatar, which is in the middle of a renovation.

North Korea has three onshore oil basins with “proven working petroleum systems” and the country is conducting exploration for new fields, BDSec brokerage, Mongolia’s largest and the underwriter of the bonds HBOil plans to offer, said in a note to investors yesterday.

The Sungri refinery, located in the Special Economic Zone of Rason City in North Korea’s northeast, has a refining capacity of 2 million tons a year and is connected to the Russian railways system, HBOil said in its release.

Read the full story here:
Mongolia Taps North Korea Oil Potential to Ease Russian Grip
Bloomberg
Michael Kohn and Yuriy Humber
2013-6-18

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On the DPRK’s oil imports (March 2013)

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

According to Yonhap:

China’s exports of crude oil to North Korea rose 8.2 percent last month from a year earlier, a report said Wednesday.

China shipped 106,000 tons of crude oil to the North in March, the Washington-based Voice of America (VOA) said, citing data by China’s customs.

The total volume of crude oil export from China to North Korea during the first three months of this year reached 159,000 tons, up 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the report said.

The news outlet confirmed previous media reports that China did not export crude oil to the North in February, which was attributed to the superpower’s tightened implementation of economic sanctions on the communist country for its third nuclear test on Feb. 12.

VOA said, however, that China, the North’s closest ally, had no records of crude oil exports to the North in February in 2012 and 2011.

According to China’s customs, the country shipped a total of 523,000 tons of crude oil to the North in 2012, 526,000 tons in 2011 and 528,000 tons in 2010.

Besides official trade, China is believed to have ship an additional 500,000 tons every year in crude oil assistance to the North.

There are also media reports that Iran is planning on selling oil to the DPRK. According to RT News:

Tehran and Pyongyang are in talks about possible exports of Iranian oil to North Korea, Iran’s oil ministry said on Saturday.

“We have had, and continue to have, negotiations with the North Koreans who have requested to buy Iranian oil. We are discussing the procedure and we don’t have any problem selling them oil,” Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi told a briefing at an International oil and gas exhibition in Tehran.

The minister admitted that Iran was feeling the strain of sanctions imposed on the country by foreign governments, but said it would not get in the way of the transportation of its oil to “any country, in any part of the world,” AP cites.

A delegation from North Korea is among the participants of the expo in the Iranian capital. A Tehran-Pyongyang oil deal would further develop ties increase between the two states – which are both at odds with the US and the West over their respective nuclear programs and have both been sanctioned over the issue.

Read the full stories here:
China’s crude oil exports to N. Korea up 8.2 pct in March
Yonhap
2013-4-24

Iran plans oil exports to North Korea
RT
2013-4-20

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Chinese oil exports to DPRK

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Reuters reports on Chinese oil exports to the DPRK:

China did not export any crude oil to North Korea in February, customs data showed on Thursday, marking the first absence of deliveries since the same month in 2012.

Crude oil is the largest commodity by value that is supplied to North Korea under Beijing’s aid programme. It was not immediately clear if the lack of supply represented a unilateral action by China to punish North Korea for its nuclear test on Feb. 12.

Customs data showed the last time China missed monthly supply shipments was in February 2012. There were also no exports in February 2011.

Beijing normally supplies between 30,000 to 50,000 tonnes of crude oil to North Korea every month (222,000 to 370,000 barrels). Exports in 2012 totalled 523,041 tonnes, China General Administration of Customs data shows.

At $100 per barrel, China’s annual crude oil supplies last year would have been worth about $380 million.

Officials at the Ministry of Commerce were either not aware of the customs figures or declined comment. The ministry is a key agency that oversees the aid programme, which includes supplying commodities such as crude oil and diesel fuel.

Oil trading officials with knowledge of China’s oil aid to North Korea told Reuters last week that the ministry had some internal discussions about how to respond following Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test.

One of them said there may be “some kind of curb” in supplies but declined to elaborate.

The customs data showed a small quantity of diesel fuel flowed to North Korea in February amounting to about 4,000 tonnes (31,200 barrels). For the whole of 2012 China supplied 31,050 tonnes of diesel and 56,093 tonnes of gasoline to North Korea, customs data shows.

Prior to 2011, China suspended crude sales to North Korea in early 2007 and in September 2006, which also coincided with a nuclear test in October that year.

Read the full story here:
China did not export any crude in Feb to N.Korea (CORRECTED)
Reuters
Chen Aizhu
2013-3-21

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DPRK imports CCTV cameras

Monday, January 14th, 2013

According to the Choson Ilbo:

North Korea is tightening surveillance of the population using tens of thousands of Chinese-made surveillance cameras. According to Chinese customs data, the North imported a total of 16,420 CCTV cameras worth about US$1.66 million from China from January to November last year.

In 2009, the first year China published statistics on bilateral trade, the North imported a whopping 40,465 surveillance cameras from China. In 2010 the figure was 22,987 and in 2011 22,118. Altogether the North has imported over 100,000 cameras worth about $10 million.

Meanwhile, crude oil and oil products were the major products the North imported from China between January and November last year with a total value US$526 million. Next came naphtha products ($101.7 million), cargo trucks ($92.2 million), and flour ($58.8 million).

Read the full story here:
Chinese Cameras Help N.Korean Regime’s Surveillance
Choson Ilbo
2013-1-14

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