SEAFOOD prices in North Korea have virtually collapsed following a decision by the United Nations Security Council to impose tough new sanctions, including a ban on fish and marine exports.
The rogue state is a big exporter of seafood to China and other Asian countries, although not to the West.
However, within hours of the ban being announced North Korean fresh squid and other products fell by more than two thirds in price.
Cui Yanzhi, a Chinese businessman who has operated a seafood processing plant in North Korea, said ‘no-one seems to want it’. He is now planning to close his plant and move back across the border.
Following the sanctions vote on Saturday, he has shut down his plant and is scrambling to empty it, bringing as much as he can across the border to Hunchun, a thriving Chinese trading town with dozens of seafood markets selling North Korean goods.
The international community has demanded a halt to North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests, and the new measures, touted as the ‘strongest sanctions ever imposed’ on the country, could cut US$1 billion from its export revenues.
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, called the new measures a ‘kick in the gut’ to Pyongyang.
The retreat of savvy Chinese seafood traders is a sign that Beijing, which dominates trade with North Korea, will play along.
Seafood is normally moved across the Yalu River on the China-Korea border and reports suggested that trade has declined dramatically.
A Reuters reporter who visited Dandong, through which about three-quarters of China’s trade with North Korea is shipped, was told by traders and fishermen that authorities tightened enforcement on seafood coming from North Korea almost as soon as the sanctions were announced.
Picture: US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley