China, sanctions strain Kim Jong Un

Formally, North Korea’s prime exports are coal and textiles, however its enterprise dealings transcend these merchandise, extending to arms gross sales and exported labor.

The United Nations estimates that greater than 50,000 North Korean staff are employed in international international locations, largely in China and Russia, but in addition in international locations like Malaysia, Qatar, Ethiopia and Poland.

The regime makes between $1.2 billion and $2.three billion from its residents’ labor, largely within the forestry and building sector. For comparability, North Korea’s recorded commerce quantity was $6.5 billion final 12 months.

North Korea additionally made $300 million in arms gross sales in 2015, in accordance with South Korean sources.

Arms shipments have been intercepted to a few of its shoppers — a listing which features a Syrian authorities company, Egypt, Yemen and Cuba.

The secretive state has profitable business relationships with a number of African international locations, and items traded with North Korea throughout Africa quantity to greater than $100 million a 12 months.

The UN is investigating seven African international locations for attainable violations of its sanctions on North Korea, reminiscent of commissioning building initiatives and shopping for arms.

North Korean-owned enterprise Mansudae Abroad Tasks is reportedly behind a lot of the business exercise in Africa. A few of its initiatives embody building work in Namibia, in addition to big statues, largely of African revolutionary leaders.

The UN cracked down on North Korea’s gross sales of its large socialist-style statues this 12 months in response to a nuclear check it carried out in September.

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