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Report: North Korea running massive fish market at China border

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korea is circumventing sanctions near the China border, according to a South Korean press report. File Photo by Yonhap
North Korea is circumventing sanctions near the China border, according to a South Korean press report. File Photo by Yonhap

Sept. 21 (UPI) -- North Korea is running a seafood marketplace near its border with China and business is thriving, according to a South Korean press report.

Television network Channel A reported Friday the North had opened a fishery market in Wonjong county in North Hamkyong province. The area is visible from the Chinese side, according to the report.

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The market attracts Chinese tourists and buyers, who enter North Korea from a checkpoint at Hunchun, China.

Hunchun is where the borders of China, North Korea and Russia converge, and Chinese tourists are "flocking" to the North Korean seafood market, according to Channel A.

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For Chinese passport holders, there is a surcharge of about $26 for entering North Korea from China, and "shuttle buses" take visitors to the site, a customs official at the border says in the report.

"Because there are two shuttle buses, you can return anytime," the official is heard saying. "It's a big wholesale market, but the seafood is pretty cheap."

Sources said the market opened in July and "hundreds" of visitors drop by daily to do their shopping.

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North Korea seafood came under United Nations Security Council sanctions in August 2017.

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Channel A reported several refrigerator trucks were seen near the customs office.

The report of North Korea seafood trade comes at a time when fuel smuggling is ongoing.

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The Washington Post reported Thursday a confidential U.N. report has identified 40 vessels and 130 firms linked to Chinese or Russian firms that were contributing to fuel smuggling into North Korea.

U.S. intelligence officials say sanctions enforcement is eroding, according to the report.

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