Inter-Korean trade jumped more than 15 percent last year but was still far short of that between China and North Korea, data showed Thursday.
According to the data compiled by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), trade volume between South Korea and North Korea reached $1.98 billion last year, up 15.8 percent from a year earlier.
But the 2012 annual trade amount between the two Koreas was just some 30 percent of North Korea's trade with its strongest ally China, the data showed.
Last year, China-North Korea trade reached $5.93 billion, up 5.4 percent, they showed.
Inter-Korean trade posted an annual gain of 2.1 percent between 2008 and 2012, while trade between Beijing and Pyongyang grew at a faster pace of 20.8 percent during the cited period, according to the data.
The slower growth of inter-Korean trade was attributed mainly to persisting tension on the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea's relations with the North have been frozen since former President Lee Myung-bak took office in 2008, virtually cutting off inter-Korean economic cooperation.
In response, the North has strengthened its ties with China in an effort to help revive its moribund economy alongside stricter international sanctions following its nuclear and rocket tests. (Yonhap News)