REPORT: TONS OF WINE & SPIRITS LEFT CHINA TO N. KOREA AHEAD OF FESTIVITIES NEXT MONTH
By Tony Zhu
Credit: Thomas Evans/Unsplash
North Korean authorities have imported huge amount of wine and spirits through freight trains from China ahead of major holidays next month, according to the Seoul-based Daily NK.
Quoting sources in China, Daily NK reported that many freight trains left China’s Dandong city to North Korea’s Sinuiju this month carrying literally tons of wines, whiskies and vodka.
The sources said while Chilean wines accounted for most of the exports, there were also wines from France and Australia.
Although the prices of the wines differ, said the sources, most are about RMB 400 to 500 (USD 58 to 73), making them pricey even in China.
“Next month there are a number of holidays in North Korea, including Army Day on 8 February and the Day of the Shining Star which is Kim Jong Il’s birthday on the 16th, so North Korea is preparing high-end gifts to give to its cadres,” one trader in China told Daily NK.
A Daily NK source in North Korea, meanwhile, said that many imported wines and liquors, clothing and foods have recently arrived at major department stores and foreign currency shops in Pyongyang that inventories are holding steady.
North Korea appears to be importing luxury items to satisfy the demands of its upper class, and also raising money by selling those items at high prices to its wealthy entrepreneurial class and cadres.
North Korea has also imported large amounts of processed foodstuffs like biscuits, cookies, bread and snacks by train from China.
The United Nations (UN) has banned exports of luxury goods to North Korea in 2006 after the country tested nuclear weapons.
But the resolution did not define what are luxury goods, individual UN members were left to come up with their own definitions.
Many countries included wine and spirits in their luxury goods list but China did not, so it is legal for Chinese traders to export these products to North Korea.
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