North Korean businessmen in China stuck in embargo

North Korean businessmen in China stuck in embargo 0

North Korean businessmen in China stuck in embargo

A female waitress at a Korean restaurant in Dandong city, China.

Many businesses owned by North Koreans in China have had to close, but some others are still trying to maintain operations, despite the ban imposed by Beijing under sanctions from the United Nations.

On January 9, when the ban on North Korean businesses in China began to take effect, a North Korean hotel located in Shenyang city, northeastern China, stopped accepting reservations.

These are the first signs of China’s support for the series of harsh sanctions imposed by the United Nations on North Korea over its nuclear and missile programs.

However, the process of implementing the ban on North Korean businesses in China has been carried out inconsistently, according to observers.

In the cold northeast, the center of North Korea’s economic activity in China, some restaurants, travel agencies and seafood shops persisted with plans to open.

`Tourism is to connect people. It is a human right,` asserted Kim Yongil, an employee at the Korea International Tourism Agency in Dandong, a Chinese border city, adding that his agency has not

`Preventing people from freely visiting North Korea is a human rights issue. You are evil,` Mr. Kim said.

In a stall in the basement, opposite the Chinese customs office, Meng Qingshu, a North Korean, also did not intend to stop selling.

`We sell seafood from North Korea,` she advertised.

Importing seafood from North Korea into China has been banned since August last year because of sanctions, but Meng still has goods to sell and she did not explain how she imported them.

The UN resolution on closing joint ventures and cooperative entities with North Korea did not set a specific date but set a 120-day implementation schedule from September 2017.

`January 9 is an important day, the last day for North Korean businesses to separate and they should close,` said Mr. Lu Chao, director of the Institute of Border Studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang meanwhile affirmed that Beijing will comply with all obligations to the United Nations, and `severely punish` anyone who violates sanctions.

Big impact

North Korean businessmen in China stuck in embargo

Chilbosan Hotel.

The 14-story, 154-room Chilbosan hotel in downtown Shenyang, capital of Liaoning province, has long served as a major source of revenue for Pyongyang.

`We are closed for the time being… From today,` she told AFP.

A day ago, North Koreans wearing national flag badges on their chests still comfortably enjoyed buffet breakfast here.

`The Shenyang Chilbosan Hotel is North Korea’s largest investment in China as well as abroad,` Mr. Lu Chao said.

Pyongyang has a joint venture with Dandong Hongxiang Industrial Machinery Company to manage the Chilbosan hotel.

Hong Xiang Company’s office, located on the 16th floor of a tower on the banks of the Yalu River, overlooking the city of Sinuiju, North Korea, has been vacant since January 9.

`We’re closed for repairs,` the man in the restaurant said.

North Korean businessmen in China stuck in embargo

Stalls selling Korean goods on the side of the road in Dandong city.

Also in Dandong, North Korea’s Koryo restaurant was closed and its sign was removed.

According to Chung Young-June, a scholar at the Institute of Sinology at Yonsei University, South Korea, nearly 100 North Korean catering businesses in China bring in about 10 million USD each year.

`They provide revenue sources for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un,` Chung commented.

Post Comment