North Korea's External Economic Relations
North Korea's international transactions have grown since the 1990s famine period. Illicit transactions appear to account for a declining share of trade. Direct investment is rising, but the county remains significantly dependent on aid to finance imports. Interdependence with South Korea and China is rising, but the nature of integration with these two partners is very different: China's interaction with North Korea appears to be increasingly on market-oriented terms, while South Korea's involvement has a growing noncommercial or aid component. These patterns have implications for North Korea's development, the effectiveness of UN sanctions, and its bargaining behavior in nuclear negotiations.