(LEAD) North Korea-China trade fair resumes after 7-year hiatus over UN sanctions
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SEOUL, April 29 (Yonhap) — An international trade fair co-hosted by North Korea and China opened for the first time in seven years, according to official Pyongyang media on Friday.
It had been suspended since 2016 after China, the North’s traditional ally and biggest trading partner, voted in favor of UN sanctions against Pyongyang.
Products ranging from agriculture, light industry, construction, fishing and medicine were showcased online during the two-month event which kicked off on Thursday, the agency reported. Central Korean official press.
“The expo will help strengthen cooperation between North Korea and China in the field of economy, science and technology,” the Korean Central Broadcasting Station also said.
Pyongyang and Beijing jointly held the trade fair every year from 2012 to 2015 in the northern Chinese border city of Dandong. It was canceled in 2016 amid strained bilateral relations following China’s endorsement of UN sanctions against the North for its nuclear testing.
The trade fair which will end on June 28 marks the North’s first international trade event since the COVID-19 outbreak, as the reclusive country seeks to shore up its economy despite crippling sanctions and the protracted pandemic.
Meanwhile, freight train operations on a route from Dandong to the North Korean border town of Sinuiju were suspended on Friday at the request of Pyongyang amid the spread of COVID-19 in the Chinese city, sources say. .
The North has told China it has no plans to completely halt the route, the sources said, raising hopes that rail operations could resume when the COVID-19 situation and other conditions will improve.
Freight train operations on this route resumed in January, a year and a half after the North closed its borders to ward off the pandemic.