October 23, 2021

What will Beijing’s coal embargo mean for North Korea’s economy?

Experts weigh on the possible consequences for the DPRK's trade, coal industry and economic future

The Chinese government surprised North Korea watchers, traders and even its own steel mills when, on February 18 it announced it would not import any of the DPRK's coal for the remainder of the year.

The announcement appears to mark a drastic shift in policy, with Beijing historically reluctant to implement changes that could trigger wider instability within the DPRK. While a recent statement from China's Foreign Ministry implied its traders had already hit a dollar value quota outlined in UN Resolution 2321, if the embargo is implemented fully the DPRK's coal industry now faces a very lean ten months.