North Korea’s Undisclosed Aid from China Revealed by Leaked Government Documents

By Yonah Wahn | January 18, 2021
The two bridges on the Yalu River, Friendship Bridge (L) and Broken Bridge (R), that connect North Korea and China from Dandong province, on October 2008.

Leaked internal government documents obtained by The Epoch Times have revealed details about the financial and agricultural aid provided to North Korea by Communist China. China still remains North Korea’s biggest trading partner, despite trade reductions due to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus.

One of the documents, published in 2016, showed the CCP’s funding of 15 projects in Jilin, the northeastern province bordering North Korea. With the goal of developing North Korea’s economy, most of these projects were classified as “overseas investment” by the Jilin provincial government, while two projects, involving cement grinding stations in Pyongyang and the Rason Special Economic Zone (SEZ), were classified as “contracted projects.”

The total investment from China into the cement grinding stations was about 1 billion yuan ($150 million) each. China has also invested 468.6 million yuan (about $69.82 million) into an electrical project, and 31.5 billion yuan (about $470 million) into an island Trade Cooperation Zone project in North Korea.

China also did not directly invest in the trade zone project, but instead used Hong Kong companies to advance the development of a mutual trade zone, according to a 2018 South Korea report.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his entourage warm up next to a campfire on Mount Paektu. (Image: Rodong Sinmun via Daily NK)

The other leaked document, published in 2014, displayed China’s exportation of advanced agricultural technology to North Korea. It revealed that Jilin Jinong High-tech Development Co., owned by the Jilin government, proposed a project construction period from 2015 to 2017 in a Chinese project site in North Korea, which would be funded by the Jilin Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

The document stated the agriculture project to be an “aid to the North Korean government,” and had an investment of 9.97 million yuan (about $1.5 million) from China. The document supported this by pointing out North Korea’s rice, corn, and vegetable production being hindered by its lagging production technology as well its lack of agricultural machinery and details.

North Korea was willing to provide construction land and experimental land free of charge, handle Chinese worker immigration processes and land permit procedures, and provide Chinese workers with office space and accommodation, the company said.

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