China's trade with North Korea in 2023 recovered to roughly 82 percent of the pre-pandemic levels of 2019, official data showed Thursday, with bilateral freight shipments via train and trucks resumed, although Pyongyang has yet to lift its COVID-19 travel restrictions fully.

In 2023, the total value of China's trade with North Korea more than doubled from the previous year to $2.3 billion.

File photo shows a freight train crossing a bridge from the Chinese border city of Dandong in December 2022 to enter North Korea. (Kyodo)

A freight train service between northeastern China's Dandong and North Korea's Sinuiju fully restarted in 2022, with truck operations between the two countries' border cities also confirmed in 2023.

China is North Korea's closest and most influential ally in economic terms. Last year, Pyongyang's imports from China stood at some $2 billion, while its exports to the neighboring country reached about $292 million, the data showed.

Bilateral trade exceeded $6.5 billion in 2013 but began dropping sharply from 2018 after U.N. Security Council resolutions were adopted in December 2017 against Pyongyang over its launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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