January 29, 2023

Beijing to Pyongyang and Illicit Goods

I've been to North Korea six times. I used to only fly, but for the past three years I've taken the train.  Because I first visited the DPRK by train in July 2009, all of my train based visits have taken place since the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1874, a resolution that has the partial objective of preventing North Korea from importing military hardware and luxury goods.

As any recent tourist to the DPRK will tell you, the Koreans do a pretty good job of showing off just how easy they find it to import luxury goods.  Fine liquors, flat screen displays and high-end, modern cars can all be found readily in the capital city.  And as Dr. Siegfried Hecker told the world in November 2010, North Korea has apparently been finding it just as easy to it to import state-of-the-art uranium enrichment technology, too.   But just how is Pyongyang managing to outwit so many customs officials and get proscribed goods into the country unhindered?