With North Korea-China relations rapidly improving in the wake of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s surprise visit to China and Chinese President Xi Jinping extending warm welcome, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, carried a report Friday that commends the development of North Korea’s steel and metal industry.
Attention is focusing especially on why the Chinese media outlet carried the report, considering that China has completely banned exports of steel and other metals to North Korea since January in line with the U.N. Security Council resolution against the North. Watchers say that Beijing may be trying to create a mood to ease sanctions on steel and metals, which are essential to the North’s economic development, since Kim Jong Un has already demonstrated his commitment to denuclearization. Some raise the possibility that during the North Korea-China summit, Kim could have strongly asked Xi to lift sanctions against the North, including China’s ban on steel and metal export.
The People’s Daily carried a news article entitled “North Korea is accelerating technology innovation in the metal industry” at a lower loft column on Page 3. It is a news report meant to encourage (the North) that has never been monitored in recent years, during which Pyongyang-Beijing relations were at their lowest point due to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile tests and Beijing’s sanctions against its neighbor.
Wan-Jun Yun email@example.com