China-DPRK trade was on the rise, but plunged in 2020 over COVID-19
North Korea leaned into unsustainable trade deficits with China, and then COVID-19 disrupted it all
Editor’s note: This analysis is part of a three-part series on China-North Korea relations in 2020. See part one here and part two here.
Nearly one year ago in Jan. 2020, North Korea first slammed its doors shut in an effort to keep out COVID-19. On top of border closures, the country also intermittently shut down trade throughout the year, giving rise to a cycle of crashes and minimal regrowth that will set the North Korean economy back in 2021.
If you remember only one trade statistic about North Korea, remember this: Between 90 to 95% of its official
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