Satellite imagery suggests that trade between China and North Korea has dried up, leading experts to conclude that Beijing is cutting off the flow of money to Kim Jong Un.
According to The Washington Post, experts at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) procured and studied satellite images which appear to show a decline in activity at key customs areas for cross-border trade between the two countries.
Take a look at the images obtained by CSIS researchers working for Beyond Parallel, a website and database dedicated to lifting the lid on what is going on inside the notorious hermit kingdom. The first pair comes from Sinuiju, North Korea.
And the second pair looks at movements at the port of Dandong, China.
Looks like a notable decline in trade to us.
“It is apparent that shortly after North Korea did the fourth nuclear test in January, China took unilateral measures to drastically curtail trade interaction along their border,” said Victor Cha, director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council during the George W. Bush administration.
China has frequently been criticized by the United States for not doing enough to dissuade North Korea from pursuing nuclear weapons, with presidential hopeful Donald Trump being especially vocal on the issue.
Back in April, Beijing was said to have halfheartedly joined UN sanctions against North Korea, but many called on them to do more. The cooperation of China is seen as essential for any action to be successful.
“It shows that China pursues things in their own way when it comes to North Korea, not because the U.S. or the U.N. tells them to,” said Cha. “The good news is that they are squeezing them more than we were led to expect.”
[Images via Center for Strategic and International Studies // DigitalGlobe]