July 12(UPI)– North Korea‘s Workers’ Party may be pushing “optimistic propaganda” inside the country and among compatriots in China, because sanctions are taking a toll on the lives of ordinary people.
Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported Wednesday the party has been maintaining economic prospects will improve in two years despite heavy sanctions.
Multiple sources at the China-North Korea border said North Koreans in China and North Korea have been “hit” by sanctions.
But North Korean authorities are saying, “after two years, the international situation will become more favorable for North Korea,” the sources said.
There are expectations in North Korea that with the development of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons and missile program, future negotiations with the United States will culminate in the easing of sanctions, according to the report.
Washington has said talks of easing sanctions would take place only if North Korea agrees to cease weapons proliferation.
China, North Korea’s most important economic partner, has been increasing restrictions against North Korean activity in the country.
According to sources who spoke to the Mainichi, North Koreans face growing limits to financial activity in China.
North Korean traders in the country are banned from opening accounts at local Chinese banks. They were previously able to circumvent regulations by requesting Chinese nationals, ethnic Koreans, to open accounts on their behalf.
But a crackdown against North Korean activity is bringing such practices under scrutiny, according to the report.
Some banks in China that did make exceptions for North Korean nationals now only allow account holders to withdraw money but ban deposits or fund transfers.
The ban on imports of North Korean coal has had a serious impact on the local economy. North Korean coal truck drivers have been “hit hard,” sources say.
North Korean restaurants in China have also closed in increasing numbers, the report states.