China preparing for resumption of North Korea trade, report says

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April 2 (UPI) — A customs office in the Chinese city of Dandong at the North Korean border has begun to accept export registrations ahead of a potential reopening of links between the two countries, according to a South Korean press report.

Seoul Pyongyang News reported Friday that the Dandong customs office has resumed operations related to freight trains between China and North Korea. Chinese authorities are accepting goods for registration, the report said, citing an unidentified source in Dandong.

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The exports are essential goods, including food products and infant formula. China also has registered building materials to go toward the construction of 10,000 apartment units in Pyongyang, the report said.

Last month, Kim Jong Un ordered the new housing development.

SP News’ source also said registration of land freight, or deliver trucks, is to begin after Monday.

China’s Xi Jinping and Kim Jong Un recently exchanged letters reaffirming friendship between the two countries.

On Friday, Beijing highlighted strong ties.

“China and [North Korea] are friendly neighbors linked by mountains and rivers,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

“The two sides always maintain communication over exchanges in various sectors and at various levels,” she added, in a response to a question about a potential “high-level” meeting between China and North Korea.

North Korean state media previously reported work began on the Pyongyang apartments. The Rodong disclosed military units were mobilized for the construction. North Korean media did not mention the origin of the material for construction.

Pyongyang also could be sending other “volunteers” to other sites of “economic construction.”

Rodong Sinmun reported Friday a group of young men who “begged” to build a site in Jagang Province left for work Thursday.

The article included photos of workers’ rallies. Workers are traveling from different areas of Jagang Province: the cities of Manpo and Kanggye, as well as Songgan and Hwapyong counties, the Rodong said.