North Korea has found itself in a very peculiar and precarious position, after years of saber rattling and downright defiance of international pressures.
After Kim Jong Un made extremely potent threats of nuclear launches to “surprise” Donald Trump during his inauguration, a threat that thankfully never came to fruition, the despotic dictator has continued his open arrogance in the face of varied international reactions. Even China, the longtime “brother’s keeper” of the hermit kingdom, have been forced to crack down on their communist brethren with new trade sanctions that hit North Korea where it hurts: In the coal mines.
North Korea’s main export to China and other Asian nations is coal. The trade agreements that are currently in place account for a massive piece of the North Korean economy, which isn’t truly strong to begin with. Rumors of North Korean citizens foraging for grass and weeds fro city parks to feed their families have been escaping the secretive nation for years. Poverty is so devastating under the reign of Kim Jong Un that North Koreans regularly die from incredibly simple to cure maladies.
In true North Korean fashion, Kim Jong Un refused to heed the warnings from China regarding these sanctions, and now his coal ships have been forced to return home, still full of the coal they hoped to export.
“A fleet of North Korean cargo ships is heading home to the port of Nampo, the majority of it fully laden, after China ordered its trading companies to return coal from the isolated country, shipping data shows.
“Following repeated missile tests that drew international criticism, China banned all imports of North Korean coal on Feb. 26, cutting off the country’s most important export product.
“To curb coal traffic between the two countries, China’s customs department issued an official order on April 7 telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes, said three trading sources with direct knowledge of the order.
“U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping were discussing North Korea at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on April 7.
“Shipping data on Thomson Reuters Eikon, a financial information and analytics platform, shows a dozen cargo ships on their way to North Korea’s main west coast port of Nampo, almost all carrying cargoes from China.
“Chinese authorities did not respond to requests for official comment.
“The Trump administration has been pressuring China to do more to rein in North Korea, which sends the vast majority of its exports to its giant neighbor across the Yellow Sea.”
Whether or not this move will improve North Korea’s behavior in the region is yet to be seen, but judging by the past transgressions of the ridiculous regime, I don’t believe that anyone within striking distance of Pyongyang’s supposed nuclear arsenal is holding their breath.