Radio Free Asia on May 14, 2013, reported that China is providing large amounts of fertilizer to its ally North Korea and plans to send food aid to the impoverished nation, according to sources inside the country, despite backing international sanctions meant to punish the regime for pursuing its nuclear weapons program. Excerpts below:

North Korean sources told RFA’s Korean Service that Beijing had delivered fertilizer to assist in collective farm production even earlier this year than it had in years past—and in larger quantities.

The source did not provide details of when China delivered fertilizer last year or the amount it had donated.

But a farmer from Yanggang province told RFA that this year Beijing had sent fertilizer to North Korea, which faces chronic food shortages, more than a month earlier than it had in 2012.

The farmer said that this year China had begun delivering fertilizer as early as April 26.

The sanctions do not bar other countries from sending food and other forms of aid to North Korea, but prohibit financial interactions with North Korea in a bid to further isolate the country and pressure it to give up its nuclear weapons program.

“Trade between North Korea and China is very much active,” the farmer from Yanggang province said.

“They have even built a new customs house in Yanggang’s Samjiyon district,” he said.

The farmer added that smuggling across the Yalu River, which lies along the border between the two countries, “is still carried out extensively.”


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