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Fewer North Korean workers come to China

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 01:45

North Korean sanctions are starting to bite, but since the isolated country is so secretive, its effects are best observed from the Chinese border. China is Pyongyang's main economic lifeline and, as Ryan Brooks reports, traders there say they're feeling the pinch.

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A heavy blow for North Korea's number one lifeline The single-lane "Friendship Bridge" on the Chinese border is the country's only gateway for international trade... And it's unusually quiet. That's because Beijing is on board with international sanctions - punishing Pyongyang for its nuclear weapons tests. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SUE-LIN WONG, CHINA CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "The overwhelming feeling on the border was tension and frustration. Tension because one of the top businesswomen in Dandong has recently been investigated for doing trade that is related to North Korea's nuclear program. And there was a lot of frustration that the sanctions that were directed at North Korea have really hit the Chinese border area, so places like Dandong and Yanji so local businessmen were telling me they felt the sanctions had punished them more than anyone else." China has been putting a tight squeeze on imports of North Korean coal - cutting off a crucial cash flow for the weapons program. But that isn't the only commodity that Pyongyang's struggling to export due to sanctions. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SUE-LIN WONG, CHINA CORRESPONDENT, SAYING: "One of the main forms of hard currency that North Korea is able to earn is through its overseas workers. They're predominantly in Russia and China, working in factories, restaurants, mines, farms, construction. A large portion of their monthly salary gets sent directly back through official channels to the North Korean government rather than to the workers themselves." The number of North Korean workers crossing the border hasn't stopped completely, but it's slowed down a lot. China may be the North's sole ally But as it takes strives to play a greater role in global policy It doesn't seem too prepared to let that old friendship get in the way.

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Fewer North Korean workers come to China

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 01:45