China May Be Helping North Korea Skirt Sanctions Again: Report

Ryan Pickrell | China/Asia Pacific Reporter

Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly lavished North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with expensive gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars during his surprise state visit to Beijing in late March.

“At the end of the talks, Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, presented to Kim Jong Un gifts they prepared with sincerity,” North Korean state media reported. The gifts, most of which the United Nations banned from export to the North, were worth around four hundred thousand dollars, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reported, citing Hong Kong-based Apple Daily.

Kim is said to have received a large vase, plates and porcelain teacups, jewelry, silk and eleven bottles of very expensive Chinese liquor. U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit the transfer of luxury goods to North Korea and set limits on the value of gifts to North Korean officials.

The gifts presented to Kim and his wife are not the only place where China is reportedly backtracking on sanctions. Several hundred North Korean workers are returning to China in a move potentially in violation of UNSC resolutions, Radio Free Asia reported, UPI revealed.

“Earlier this month, more than 400 North Korean women workers were newly dispatched to the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture,” a source in China’s Jilin Province told RFA, adding this shift “is a sign of the impact of Chairman Kim Jong Un’s visit.” Another source in Dangdong, the Chinese border town, reported the arrival of busloads of young female workers from North Korea.

The international community has long accused China of being lax on sanctions implementation, yet Beijing insists it remains committed to upholding the sanctions regime targeting North Korea.

“There should be no room for doubt about China’s willingness to carry out our international duties as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang said in late March.

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