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SEOUL, July 2 (Yonhap) -- Trade between North Korea and China contracted 2.3 percent on-year in the first five months of 2013 mainly due to Pyongyang importing less from its neighbor, a report showed Tuesday.
The report by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) showed two-way trade at US$2.45 billion in the January-May period, with North Korea's exports to China growing 6.5 percent on-year to $1.12 billion. The North's imports from China, however, dropped 8.5 percent to $1.33 billion.
The trade association said the North shipped $613.6 million worth of coal, making it the top export commodity for the communist country, followed by such raw materials as iron and lead ores.
In exchange, the North bought $265 million worth of crude oil, a decrease of 5 percent from January-May of 2012. The country imported $52 million in large cargo-hauling vehicles, as well as flour and soybean oil from its neighbor.
KITA did not elaborate on the reason for the decrease in overall trade volume and the drop in crude oil imports from China.
Related to economic developments in the North, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report that food conditions in the isolationist country remain one of the most precarious in all of Asia.
In its 2012-2013 food security report, which inspected 22 countries in the region, the North came in at the bottom with Afghanistan and Yemen.
The findings, which are used as reference material for food aid provisions by Washington, claimed that while the North was able to produce 7.5 million tons of grain annually up until the early 1990s, this has since plunged to around 4.3 million tons in 2012.
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