A photograph taken by the Russian embassy in North Korea shows Chinese-made trucks for sale at the Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair, despite UN sanctions prohibiting the sale or transfer of vehicles to the DPRK.
UN Resolution 2397, passed in December last year, prevents member states from sending vehicles to North Korea, banning all trade codes which include cars, trucks, motorbikes, and trains.
“All Member States shall prohibit the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the DPRK … of all … transportation vehicles (HS codes 86 through 89),” paragraph seven of the resolution reads.
The ban is part of a wider prohibition on nearly all types of machinery and industrial equipment and includes no exceptions other than allowing the export of spare parts for the DPRK’s fleet of commercial airliners.
The image taken by the Russian embassy in Pyongyang and posted on their Facebook page shows three trucks bearing the brand name “Foton”, a Chinese company vehicle and machinery manufacturer headquartered in Beijing.
But Foton is itself a subsidiary of the BAIC Group, otherwise known as Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company, a state-owned automaker also operating out of the Chinese capital.
BAIC is one of the largest car companies and China and in addition to commercial trucks and jeeps also manufacturers, planes, UAVs and military vehicles.
At the time of writing neither Foton or BAIC had not responded to requests for comment on why their vehicles were present at the Spring Trade Fair in Pyongyang.
The three trucks are also next to two large jeeps, though they do not appear to have a clearly visible logo, making their origin difficult to ascertain.
Although China’s most recent trade statistics indicate that there are currently no vehicle shipments to North Korea, their presence at the expo suggests that China is still to open to trading sanctioned commodities with DPRK or is anticipating imminent sanctions relief.
The news comes as U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said China had relaxed its sanctions enforcement at the border with North Korea.
In recent weeks Trump had praised Chinese leader Xi Jinping for not allowing sanctioned products into the DPRK, but appeared to reverse his position via social media.
“China must continue to be strong & tight on the Border of North Korea until a deal is made,” the U.S. President said.
“The word is that recently the Border has become much more porous and more has been filtering in. I want this to happen, and North Korea to be VERY successful, but only after signing!”
Another photograph posted by the Russian embassy also shows motorized scooters for sale, another type of vehicle covered by the UN’s prohibition.
The bikes are positioned in front of a stall run by a Thai company called Thailand KK Universal, though it’s unclear from the images if they are marketing the vehicles.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Russian Embassy to the DPRK