North Korea’s negative growth in 2017: things look bad, unsurprisingly, but take the numbers with a grain of salt

July 20th, 2018

By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

Bank of Korea (BOK) has put out their yearly estimate of North Korea’s GDP trends. This year, they estimate that the country’s GDP decreased by 3.5 percent. Off the top of my head, this seems a fairly reasonable estimate, particularly since sanctions were only in force for a minor part of the year (late fall and onward). Some quick thoughts below:

As always, remember: estimate GDP in North Korea is very, very hard. How do you evaluate, for example, the market sector versus the state sector? Given how complicated and partially opaque North Korea’s system for pricing it, how can a GDP figure even be reasonably estimated? That said, BOK has been doing this for many years, and their figures are, for all their faults and flaws, some of the most reasonable estimates among the few that exist. Still, as one of the leading experts in the field once told a class of grad students studying the Korean economy: if someone gives you a figure on the North Korean economy with a specific decimal number, you can be sure that it’s wrong.

Some news outlets have made a big number of the fact that this contraction is the largest for over two decades, according to the BOK numbers. While that is true, the proportions are very different: in 1997, BOK estimates that the economy contracted by 6.5 percent, that is, almost double the contraction of 2017. So we’re not talking about any crisis nearly as significant as the famine of the 1990s.

BOK estimates a drop by 1.3 percent in agricultural and fisheries production. Notably, still, market prices for food have looked completely normal throughout the year, as this blog has noted several times before. It’s unclear how exactly agricultural production is estimated, and what the “sector” here really means – only what goes into the state-side of agricultural production and supply, or the sale of surplus production on the semi-private markets? The latter may very well be underestimated given how tricky it is to asses what share of agricultural production still lies firmly and solely within the state system.

It’s unclear how much of the shortfall in electricity production is compensated for by items like solar panels and other forms of electricity generation increasingly prevalent on the ground. Many have noted the various creative ways in which much of the North Korean population already adapts to the shortfall and unreliability of public supply of electricity.

The estimated trade numbers are very dire but also probably approximately realistic. Though the 37 percent shortfall in exports may be an overestimate given that they (presumably) don’t account for smuggling, it is undeniable that the economy is taking a very large hit from sanctions. People who recently visited the Chinese border speak of very low levels of activity in goods transports and the like. This gives cause for some skepticism toward the reports claiming that Chinese sanctions enforcement has gone much more lax lately: it may well have, but that hardly means the doors are flung open. At the same time, imports went up 1.8 percent. Either China is letting North Korea run a trade deficit which they assume they’ll get back once sanctions are eased, or the regime has much more currency stashed away to pay with the goods for than many have thought. The truth may lie somewhere in the middle there.

 

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Kim Jong-un’s northeastern factory tour in July

July 17th, 2018

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

KCNA today (July 17th) carried several reports from Kim Jong-un’s on-the-spot-guidance tour in the northeast. My sense from the reports is that the projection is very much focused on the second leg of Byungjin, i.e., paying attention not just to economic production, but to quality and progress as well. At the same time, the rhetoric is pretty old-fashioned, in many ways so even by North Korean standards, such as the claims that production quality stems not from economic differences between provinces, but in the ideological consciousness of those in charge.

As is customary in these cases, Kim primarily offers advice along the lines of “do things more, faster and better”. Anyway, there’s much more to be garnered from a closer reading and analysis of the texts. I’m including both the Korean originals and English-language translations below.

Kim Jong Un Inspects Chongjin Bag Factory

Pyongyang, July 17 (KCNA) — The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un inspected the Chongjin Bag Factory.

In recent years he established production processes of materials for manufacturing bags including cloth and zip capable of satisfying the needs of the country one by one and, on the basis of them, set forth the task for pushing ahead with the work to successfully build an independent factory for production of schoolbags in every province and to mass-produce and supply bags of good quality with supplied materials as an important policy.

However, the North Hamgyong Provincial Party Committee did not sincerely accept the Party’s policy on newly building a bag factory in line with the capacity while disregarding the work initiated by the Party to provide all necessary things for the schoolers with our own products, giving top priority to the education for the generations to come. It offered shabby rooms of the building at the Chongjin Regenerated Fibre Factory for a bag production base and thus caused great anxiety to Kim Jong Un who came to the factory to learn about the bag production in localities.

The Supreme Leader pointed out that the Provincial Party Committee is working in a perfunctory manner, disregarding an important policy to be prioritized by it and that its attitude toward the acceptance and implementation of the Party policy is very wrong and the committee has no revolutionary spirit and responsible attitude of working hard to implement the Party policy.

Looking round the sample room of the factory, he said that the factory’s level of producing bags is high though its production began one and half a year ago and the skills of its employees are high and that the bags are diverse in color and size and they were well made with much care according to the ages.

He said it is necessary to make the shoulder straps of bags with thicker sponge, noting that they should be made with twice thicker sponge than now so that their users may not feel pain

Stressing the need to strive for further raising the quality of bags, he said that the central factories responsible for production of raw materials should produce the accessories of bags such as cloth, zip and tape with locally available materials and ensure their production on a high level.

He called for qualitative and meticulous sewing to produce quality bags so that they should not get unfastened or ripped though children and pupils handle them at random.

It is necessary to further reduce the bag production cost, he said, giving an instruction to reexamine the price of school things including Mindulle notebooks and bags being supplied to pupils.

Saying that even though the state has more burdens, it should not give inconvenience to the people, he stressed it is needed to correct the price after listening to the view of inhabitants.

He charged that there is a problem in the work of the Provincial Party Committee as it has not yet built a design room, paying no attention to a poor products show room.

Noting that he gave an instruction for provincial party committees to build a schoolbag factory in a responsible manner in every province and learned about the construction of bag factories in some provinces and they are considerably different in level, he said such difference should be considered as a gap in the officials’ ideological attitude toward the Party policy, not difference in the economic power of provinces.

The overall economy of the country can vigorously progress when North Hamgyong Province with great industrial potentials stands up, he said, expressing belief that the Provincial Party Committee would rectify its faults as soon as possible and wage a dynamic struggle for implementing the Party policies and thus build up the province into a reliable key industry zone of the country and bring about a radical turn in improving the people’s living standard.

He was accompanied by Hwang Pyong So, Jo Yong Won, O Il Jong and Kim Yong Su, senior officials of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. -0-

김정은동지께서 청진가방공장을 현지지도

(평양 7월 17일발 조선중앙통신)

경애하는 최고령도자 김정은동지께서 청진가방공장을 현지지도하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 최근년간 전국적수요를 충족시킬수 있는 가방천과 쟈크를 비롯한 가방제작용자재생산공정들을 하나하나 꾸려주시였으며 그 능력이 갖추어진데 맞게 매 도들에서 독립적인 학생가방생산공장을 잘 꾸리고 자재들을 보장받아 질좋은 가방을 대대적으로 생산공급하는 사업을 중요한 정책적과업으로 틀어쥐고 강하게 내밀데 대한 과업을 제시하시였다.

그러나 함경북도당위원회에서는 당에서 후대교육사업을 그토록 중시하며 학생들에게 필요한 모든것을 우리의것으로 마련해주기 위하여 발기한 사업을 소홀히 하면서 가방공장을 능력에 맞게 새로 건설할데 대한 당의 방침을 정중히 접수하지 않고 청진재생섬유공장건물의 허술한 방들을 내여 가방생산기지를 너절하게 꾸려놓음으로써 지방의 가방생산실태를 료해하기 위하여 찾아오신 경애하는 최고령도자동지께 커다란 걱정을 끼쳐드리였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 도당위원회가 제일 선차적으로 틀어쥐고나가야 할 중요한 정책적문제를 놓치고 형식주의적으로 일하고있다고,당의 방침을 접수하고 집행하는 태도가 매우 틀려먹었다고,당정책관철을 위하여 이악하게 달라붙어 투쟁하는 혁명적기풍과 주인다운 일본새가 돼먹지 않았다고 엄하게 지적하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 공장의 견본실을 돌아보시면서 가방생산을 시작한지 1년반이 되였다고 하는데 그사이 가방생산수준이 높아졌다고,종업원들의 수준이 괜찮다고 하시면서 가방의 색갈과 크기도 다양하고 년령특성에 맞게 품들여 잘 만들고있다고 하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 가방의 멜빵에 전반적으로 해면을 좀더 두텁게 넣어야 하겠다고 하시면서 특히 어깨부분에는 지금의 두배만큼 해면을 넣어 무거운 책가방을 메여도 아프지 않게 만들어야 한다고 이르시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 가방의 질을 더 높이기 위한 투쟁을 힘있게 밀고나가야 한다고 하시면서 원자재생산을 맡은 중앙의 공장들에서 가방천과 쟈크,테프를 비롯한 가방부속자재들을 국산화하고 높은 수준에서 생산보장하여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 특히 재봉을 질적으로 깐지게 하여 어린이들과 학생들이 가방을 험하게 다루어도 실이 풀리거나 터져나가지 않도록 든든하게 만들어야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 가방생산원가를 더 낮추어야 한다고 하시면서 지금 학생들에게 공급하고있는 민들레학습장과 가방을 비롯한 학생용품들의 가격을 다시 잘 검토해볼데 대한 지시를 주시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 국가적부담이 커지더라도 인민들에게 불편을 주면 안된다고 하시면서 가격에 대한 군중의 평가를 들어보고 바로잡을것은 바로잡아야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 청진가방공장을 건설한지 1년반이 되도록 아직까지 도안실도 꾸리지 않고 제품진렬실도 너절한채로 두고있는것을 보면 확실히 도당위원회사업에 문제가 있다고 심각히 비판하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 도당위원회가 틀어쥐고 도들마다에 학생가방공장을 건설하도록 하였는데 몇개 도의 가방공장건설정형을 료해하여보니 수준이 현저히 차이난다고,자그마한 학생가방공장을 하나 꾸리는데 수준이 이렇듯 차이나는것은 결코 도들의 경제력의 차이가 아니라 당정책을 접수하는 일군들의 사상관점의 차이로 보아야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 공업의 잠재력이 큰 함경북도가 일떠서야 나라의 전반적경제가 활력있게 전진할수 있다고 하시면서 함경북도당위원회가 결함을 하루빨리 시정하고 당정책관철을 위한 투쟁을 힘있게 전개해나감으로써 도를 나라의 믿음직한 기간공업지대로 튼튼히 꾸리고 인민생활향상에서 획기적인 전환을 가져오리라는 기대를 표명하시였다.

조선로동당 중앙위원회 간부들인 황병서동지,조용원동지,오일정동지,김용수동지가 동행하였다.(끝)

Kim Jong Un Inspects Jungphyong-ri, Kyongsong County

Pyongyang, July 17 (KCNA) — The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un inspected Jungphyong-ri, Kyongsong County, North Hamgyong Province with the idea of building a large-scale vegetable greenhouse farm in it.

Kim Jong Un has given his whole mind to sufficiently supplying the vegetables to the people by massively cultivating them of various sorts even in the northern oceanic climate more unfavorable than the plain area. He went to the spot with the idea of building a large-scale vegetable greenhouse farm in the sector of an air force regiment in Jungphyong-ri to be removed according to a decision made by the Central Military Commission of the Party, personally learned about the site and clarified the long-term plan for building a huge vegetable greenhouse farm.

Looking at the vast land of the sector in an airport, he said that if we build a vegetable greenhouse farm of one hundred hectares, it will be splendid, and such area of the greenhouse will fully meet the needs of the people in the province. He expressed great satisfaction, saying he is very pleased today and that he is most pleased when he does a worthy thing for the people one by one like this.

Saying that the People’s Army should build the farm at lightening speed as it is the first gigantic and large-scale construction in the country, he stressed that it is necessary to build it at the highest level while ensuring both construction speed and quality as it is the farm to be provided by the Party with firm determination, not sparing the investment for the people in North Hamgyong Province.

He called for building the farmers’ residential area and cultural and welfare establishments in a modern and civilized way and thus successfully sprucing up the farm village as a model of socialist rural cultural construction and socialist paradise in which it is nice to live and work.

He indicated a general orientation arising in building the farm and operating it including the issue of organizing the powerful headquarters for dynamically pressing ahead with the construction and permanent organs of different fields, the issue of manufacturing greenhouse equipment and supplying the construction materials and the issue of training of the greenhouse engineers and securing seeds and manpower.

He was accompanied by Hwang Pyong So, Jo Yong Won, O Il Jong and Kim Yong Su, senior officials of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. -0-

김정은동지께서 함경북도 경성군 중평리를 돌아보시였다

(평양 7월 17일발 조선중앙통신)

경애하는 최고령도자 김정은동지께서 함경북도 경성군 중평리에 대규모남새온실농장을 꾸리실 구상을 안으시고 현지를 돌아보시였다.

벌방지대보다 불리한 북부해양성기후조건에서도 사철 푸르싱싱한 갖가지 남새를 많이 생산하여 인민들에게 풍족하게 공급하기 위하여 깊이 마음써오신 경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 당중앙군사위원회 결정으로 이동배치하게 되는 경성군 중평리의 비행련대구획에 대규모의 남새온실농장을 꾸리실 구상을 안으시고 현지에 나가시여 부지를 직접 료해하시고 웅대한 남새온실농장건설전망계획을 밝혀주시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 비행장구획의 광활한 옥토를 바라보시며 여기에 100정보의 남새온실농장을 건설하면 멋있을것이라고,이만한 온실면적이면 도내인민들의 수요를 충분히 충족시킬수 있을것이라고 하시면서 오늘 정말 기분이 좋다고,이렇게 인민을 위한 보람있는 일을 하나하나 찾아할 때가 제일 기쁘다고 하시며 더없이 만족해하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 우리 나라에서 처음으로 되는 거창하고 방대한 규모의 남새온실농장건설이므로 인민군대가 전적으로 맡아 불이 번쩍 나게 해제껴야 한다고 하시면서 당에서 함경북도인민들을 위하여 투자를 아끼지 않고 마음먹고 마련해주는 농장인것만큼 건설속도와 질을 다같이 보장하며 최상의 수준에서 건설하여야 한다고 강조하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 농장원들의 주택지구와 문화후생시설도 도시부럽지 않게 현대적으로 문명하게 지어주어 농장마을을 그야말로 살기도 좋고 일하기도 좋은 사회주의농촌문화건설의 본보기,사회주의락원으로 훌륭하게 꾸려주자고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 남새온실농장건설을 힘있게 추진하기 위한 강력한 건설지휘부를 조직하고 각 부문별로 상무를 내올데 대한 문제,온실설비제작과 건설자재보장문제,온실기사양성과 종자,로력확보문제를 비롯하여 농장건설과 운영준비에서 나서는 총적방향을 제시하시였다.

조선로동당 중앙위원회 간부들인 황병서동지,조용원동지,오일정동지,김용수동지가 동행하였다.(끝)

Kim Jong Un Inspects Onpho Holiday Camp

Pyongyang, July 17 (KCNA) — The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un inspected the Onpho Holiday Camp.

He visited it late at night and acquainted himself with its management, operation and situation.

Looking round the bathroom of the camp, he pointed out its very bad condition, saying bathtubs for hot spring therapy are dirty, gloomy and unsanitary for their poor management. If the camp draws criticism by the people instead of their favor due to such poor operation and management though it is holding a signboard indicating that it is a building visited by President Kim Il Sungand leader Kim Jong Il, it will commit a sin of bringing to naught the exploits of the great leaders who built a holiday camp for the people before anything else in the scenery place where hot spring water is gushing out all the year round, he said.

He asked the chairman of the Kyongsong County Party Committee about the output of hot spring water and its temperature at the point of gust and accommodation capacity of the camp and the number of rest-home visitors, and gave a task to modernly and newly build the camp.

Calling for sprucing up the area of the camp which is famous for spring water in the country to be a peculiar resort which meets the convenience and growing cultural and emotional demands of the people at the best level, he said he would make sure that the People’s Army would excellently build it next year and present it to the people as a gift.

He said the camp should be built excellently to be an all-round service center, therapy center with all catering establishments so that people can enjoy full rest and spring water therapy during their holiday, adding its design should be worked out in a peculiar manner to meet the features of the spring water area and thus build the camp into a model of the spring water holiday camps without an equal in the country.

Having a talk with the chairman of the Kyongsong County Party Committee, he asked him about the work of the county party committee and the work it plans to do in the future, he gave precious teachings for developing the county in a peculiar manner.

Noting that the county has fields, mountains and a sea and good traffic conditions, he said that as it has some foundation for developing industry, agriculture and fisheries, the county party committee should study and work hard for the earlier development of the economy of the county which has favorable natural and economic conditions.

He expressed expectation and belief that the county party committee would bring about a decisive turn in the struggle for turning the county into a marvelous one good to live with its own efforts by inspiring the people in the county to the drive for implementing the party policy.

He was accompanied by Hwang Pyong So, Kim Song Nam, Jo Yong Won, O Il Jong and Kim Yong Su, senior officials of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. -0-

김정은동지께서 온포휴양소를 현지지도

(평양 7월 17일발 조선중앙통신)

경애하는 최고령도자 김정은동지께서 온포휴양소를 현지지도하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 깊은 밤 온포휴양소를 찾으시여 관리운영실태와 형편을 료해하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 휴양소의 목욕탕을 돌아보시면서 관리를 잘하지 않아 온천치료욕조가 어지럽고 침침하고 비위생적이라고,이런 환경에서 치료가 되겠는가고,정말 너절하다고 지적하시였다.

위대한 수령님과 위대한 장군님의 령도업적이 깃들어있는 사적건물이라는 간판을 걸어놓고 이렇게 한심하게 관리운영하여 인민들의 호평이 아니라 비평을 받게 되면 사철 온천물이 마를줄 모르고 솟아나는 경치좋은 곳에 인민을 위한 휴양소부터 일떠세워주신 수령님과 장군님의 업적을 말아먹고 죄를 짓게 된다고 준절히 이르시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 경성군당위원장에게 온천의 용출량과 용출구의 온도,욕탕의 온도는 얼마이며 휴양소의 수용능력은 얼마인가,지금 휴양생들이 몇명이나 있는가를 상세히 알아보시고 온포휴양소를 현대적으로 새로 건설할데 대한 과업을 제시하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 우리 나라의 유명한 온천지대인 온포휴양소일대를 인민들의 편의와 높아가는 문화정서적요구가 최상의 수준에서 구현된 휴양지로 특색있게 잘 꾸려보자고,인민군대가 다음해에 멋들어지게 건설하여 우리 인민들에게 선물하게 하시겠다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 인민들이 휴양을 와서 충분한 휴식도 하고 온천치료도 할수 있도록 모든 봉사망들을 다 갖춘 종합봉사기지,치료봉사기지로 훌륭하게 꾸리며 온천지대의 특성이 살아나게 설계를 독특하게 하여 우리 나라에 둘도 없는 온천휴양소의 본보기로 건설하여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 경성군당위원장과 담화를 하시며 현재 군당에서 진행하고있는 사업들과 앞으로 계획하고있는 사업들에 대하여서도 물어주시고 군을 특색있게 발전시켜나가기 위한 귀중한 가르치심을 주시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 경성군은 벌도 있고 산과 바다도 끼고있으며 교통조건도 좋다고,공업과 농업,수산업을 발전시킬수 있는 토대도 일정하게 갖추어져있는것만큼 군당위원회가 자연경제적조건이 유리한 군의 경제를 빨리 발전시키기 위하여 머리를 쓰고 이악하게 투쟁하여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 경성군당위원회가 당정책관철에로 군내인민들을 조직동원하여 자체의 힘으로 군을 살기 좋은 훌륭한 고장으로 발전시켜나가기 위한 투쟁에서 획기적인 전변을 가져오리라는 기대와 확신을 표명하시였다.

조선로동당 중앙위원회 간부들인 황병서동지,김성남동지,조용원동지,오일정동지,김용수동지가 동행하였다.(끝)

Kim Jong Un Inspects Yombunjin Hotel under Construction

Pyongyang, July 17 (KCNA) — The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un inspected the Yombunjin Hotel under construction.

The construction of the Yombunjin Hotel began in July 2011 in hearty response to the teachings given by leader Kim Jong Il on several occasions to successfully build a hotel in Yombunjin with clean sea waters and good white sandy shore.

The building of main structures has been finished and the interior building phase is underway.

The Supreme Leader referred to the fact that the plastering of the inside hotel has not yet been finished though six years passed since the completion of its frame project.

He called for taking a decisive measure to quickly complete the construction, saying that although leader Kim Jong Il chose the site of the hotel in the picturesque Yombunjin shore and paid attention to the construction till the last moments of his life while learning about it time and again, the project has not yet been finished and that it is a very mistake to delay the construction at a time when the entire Party is concentrating all its efforts on implementing the behests of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il while taking it as the main line and as lifeline.

He indicated the construction orientation and ways to turn the Yombunjin area into a wonderful resort for the people, saying that the Party will take a step for supplying funds and materials and the North Hamgyong Provincial Party Committee should encourage the officials and builders of the province to the campaign for implementing the behests of the leader so as to build the hotel by Oct. 10 next year and make a report of loyalty to Kim Jong Il.

Saying that Yombunjin is an ideal place for the people to take cultural rest anytime as its seashore scene is unusually beautiful and it has good traffic conditions as it is located near railways, shipping lane and roads, he stressed the need to turn the area into the Yombunjin coast park of peculiar style by building more lodging quarters and service facilities of various forms and purposes in the section of more than 600 meters along the shore around the hotel.

Pointing out that the ground design for exterior of the hotel is not good and its accommodation capacity is small, he gave instructions for the central and provincial designing forces to make an overall examination of the design and redesign it in keeping with modern tastes from a new angle with their concerted efforts.

Saying that he will send professional technical forces of national institutions to help the province conduct the finishing construction of the hotel with its own efforts, he stressed that the province should strengthen and develop its designing and building forces in this course.

He said that if modern hotels with adequate communal amenities are built in Yombunjin and its vicinity as there are scenic spots and famous hot springs, the people in the province and other people from across the country would take enough rest and lead a cultural and emotional life to the full while enjoying mountain-climbing, sea-bathing, angling, river-fishing and hot-spring cure in the area.

He was accompanied by Hwang Pyong So, Jo Yong Won, O Il Jong and Kim Yong Su, senior officials of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea. -0-

김정은동지께서 염분진호텔건설장을 현지지도

(평양 7월 17일발 조선중앙통신)

경애하는 최고령도자 김정은동지께서 염분진호텔건설장을 현지지도하시였다.

위대한 장군님께서 여러차례에 걸쳐 바다물도 맑고 백사장도 훌륭한 염분진에 호텔을 잘 건설할데 대하여 주신 교시에 따라 2011년 7월에 착공한 염분진호텔건설은 기본건축공사를 끝내고 현재 내부공사단계에 있다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 염분진호텔건설이 골조공사를 끝낸 때로부터 6년이 지나도록 내부미장도 완성하지 못하고있는데 대하여 지적하시였다.

위대한 장군님께서 몸소 호텔의 위치를 풍치수려한 염분진바다가로 정해주시고 건설정형을 수시로 알아보시며 생의 마지막나날까지 관심하시던 대상공사인데 아직까지 완공하지 못하고있다고,전당이 위대한 수령님과 위대한 장군님의 유훈관철을 위한 사업을 주선으로,생명선으로 틀어쥐고 총력을 집중하고있는 때에 호텔건설을 해마다 계속 조월하면서 미적미적 끌고있는것은 대단히 잘못되였다고 하시면서 결정적인 대책을 세워 빨리 완공하여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

당에서 자금과 자재보장대책을 세워주겠으니 함경북도당위원회가 도안의 일군들과 건설자들을 수령의 유훈관철전에로 총궐기시켜 다음해 10월 10일까지 염분진호텔을 보란듯이 일떠세우고 위대한 장군님께 충정의 보고를 드려야 한다고 하시면서 염분진지구를 인민들의 훌륭한 문화휴식터로 이채롭게 꾸리기 위한 건설방향과 방도를 제시하시였다.

염분진은 바다가경치가 류달리 아름답고 철길과 배길,도로가 가까이에 있어 교통조건도 좋은것만큼 인민들이 아무때나 와서 문화휴식을 하기에 더없이 리상적인 곳이라고 하시면서 호텔건물을 중심으로 해안을 따라 600여m 구간에 다양한 형태와 용도의 해안공원숙소와 봉사시설들을 더 건설하여 이 지구를 특색있는 염분진해안공원으로 꾸려야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

호텔의 외부립면설계가 잘되지 못하고 수용능력도 작다고 하시면서 중앙과 도설계력량이 협동하여 설계를 전반적으로 검토하고 현대적미감에 맞게 새롭게 다시할데 대하여 지시하시였다.

호텔마감공사를 도자체의 력량으로 하면서도 중앙에서 전문기술로력을 보내주어 도와주도록 하겠다고 하시면서 이 과정을 통하여 도의 설계력량과 건설력량을 강화하고 발전시켜나가야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 염분진과 그 주변에는 명소들과 유명한 온천들도 있으므로 편의봉사시설들을 훌륭히 갖춘 현대적인 호텔,려관들이 건설되면 도내인민들뿐아니라 온 나라 인민들이 이 일대에서 등산과 해수욕,낚시질과 천렵,온천욕을 하며 충분한 휴식과 문화정서생활을 마음껏 누릴수 있게 될것이라고 말씀하시였다.

조선로동당 중앙위원회 간부들인 황병서동지,조용원동지,오일정동지,김용수동지가 동행하였다.(끝)

Kim Jong Un Visits Machine Factory of Ranam Coal-mining Machine Complex

Pyongyang, July 17 (KCNA) — The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un gave field guidance to the September 1 Machine Factory under the Ranam Coal-mining Machine Complex.

He acquainted himself with the production of the factory, going round the room for education in the revolutionary history, sci-tech learning space, machine assembling ground and other places of the factory.

Praising its workers for having conducted fierce offensive to build modern buildings for production and life and spruced up the inside and outside of the factory, he stressed the need to continuously push ahead with technical updating of production processes and equipment as well as regular management of production buildings.

Going round workplaces busy with production of machines and ordered equipment, he stated that the officials, workers and technicians of the factory should intensify the creative cooperation and the mass technological innovation movement to increase the production capacity and realize the modernization and automation of machines at a high level.

It is necessary to bring science and technology close to production and work out a plan in a bold and big way and stubbornly carry it into practice at the factory and thus further consolidate its material and technical foundations so as to produce machines requiring high technology, he said.

The sci-tech learning space should be arranged better and study-while-working habit thoroughly established at the factory so that all its employees can master machine equipment and fully arm themselves with the modern science and technology to radically increase the quality of machines, he noted.

He said that the factory should pay attention to improving the supply service for employees and providing them with good material and cultural living conditions to bring about a great upsurge in production.

Saying that the factory’s duty and role are very important, he set forth the tasks and ways for developing the factory into a leading machine producer.

He had a picture taken with the officials and workers of the factory, expressing the belief that they would bring about a fresh leap in the production of high-efficiency and modern machines of various kinds urgently needed for different fields of the national economy and make positive contributions to the development of the machine-building industry of the country.

He was accompanied by Hwang Pyong So, Jo Yong Won, O Il Jong and Kim Yong Su, senior officials of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, and Ri Hi Yong, chairman of the North Hamgyong Provincial Committee of the WPK. -0-

김정은동지께서 라남탄광기계련합기업소 9월1일기계공장을 현지지도

(평양 7월 17일발 조선중앙통신)

경애하는 최고령도자 김정은동지께서 라남탄광기계련합기업소 9월1일기계공장을 현지지도하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 혁명사적교양실과 과학기술보급실,기계조립장을 비롯한 공장의 여러곳을 돌아보시면서 생산실태를 료해하시였다.

공장로동계급이 치렬한 돌격전을 벌려 생산 및 생활건물들을 현대적으로 건설하고 공장안팎을 일신한데 대하여 평가하시면서 생산건물들의 정상유지관리사업과 함께 생산공정과 설비들의 기술개건사업도 계속 힘있게 내밀어야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

기계생산과 대상설비생산의 열풍이 세차게 휘몰아치고있는 들끓는 작업장들을 보시면서 공장의 일군들과 로동자,기술자들이 창조적협조를 강화하고 대중적기술혁신운동을 광범히 벌려 생산능력을 확대하고 기계제품들의 현대화,자동화를 높은 수준에서 실현하여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

공장에서 생산과 과학기술을 밀착시키고 대담하고 통이 크게 작전하고 완강하게 실천하여 공장의 물질기술적토대를 더욱 튼튼히 다짐으로써 높은 기술을 요구하는 기계제품들도 만들어낼수 있게 되여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

과학기술보급실을 더 잘 꾸리고 일하면서 배우는 학습기풍을 철저히 세워 공장종업원들모두가 다 기계설비에 정통하고 현대과학기술로 튼튼히 무장함으로써 기계제품의 질을 결정적으로 높이도록 해야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

공장에서 종업원들의 후방공급사업을 개선하고 훌륭한 물질문화생활조건을 마련해주기 위한 사업에 깊은 관심을 돌려 생산적앙양의 불길이 세차게 타오르게 하여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 라남탄광기계련합기업소 9월1일기계공장의 임무와 역할이 대단히 중요하다고 하시면서 공장을 굴지의 기계제작중심기지로 더욱 훌륭히 꾸려나가기 위한 과업과 방도들을 제시하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 공장의 일군들과 로동계급이 인민경제 여러 부문에서 절실히 요구하는 능률높고 현대화된 각종 기계제품의 생산에서 일대 비약을 일으킴으로써 나라의 기계제작공업발전에 적극 이바지하리라는 기대와 확신을 표명하시고 그들과 함께 기념사진을 찍으시였다.

조선로동당 중앙위원회 간부들인 황병서동지,조용원동지,오일정동지,김용수동지,조선로동당 함경북도위원회 위원장 리히용동지가 동행하였다.(끝)

Kim Jong Un Inspects Chongjin Shipyard

Pyongyang, July 17 (KCNA) — The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un gave field guidance to the Chongjin Shipyard.

He went round the room for education in the revolutionary history at the shipyard. He said that its officials and workers should create new miracles and innovations in shipbuilding and glorify the undying leadership exploits of our Party by carrying forward the baton of loyalty and self-reliance recorded in the proud development course of the shipyard with great pride and honor of working at the glorious workplace visited by President Kim Il Sung 12 times and by leader Kim Jong Il 6 times.

He learnt in detail about the overall situation of the shipyard, going round the anchor chains workshop inspected by Kim Il Sungand Kim Jong Il and other production processes and shipbuilding site.

After acquainting himself with the structure and tactical and technical specifications of a newly built warship and its weapons and equipment, he boarded the warship on a trial navigation. He praised the workers of the shipyard for having successfully built the warship with excellent mobility and firepower capability to strengthen the navy by fully displaying the revolutionary spirit of self-reliance.

The Chongjin Shipyard is able to build various ships better in the future as it has a history of shipbuilding and high technology, he said, indicating detailed tasks to further modernize the shipbuilding process.

Noting with firm belief in the workers of the Chongjin Shipyard, he decided to entrust it with the building of a newly planned modern cargo-passenger ship, he said that the shipyard can easily carry out this task as it had already experienced building the ship Mangyongbong-92. The shipyard should launch and conduct the work in a bold and revolutionary way and, in this course, further develop its shipbuilding technology and put the production processes on a scientific and modern basis of higher level and thus take the lead in bringing about a great leap in the development of the country’s shipbuilding industry, he added.

He expressed belief that the officials and workers of the Chongjin Shipyard would perform shining feats in the struggle to attain the new goal set forth by the Party and creditably live up to the expectation of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee.

He was accompanied by Hwang Pyong So, Jo Yong Won, O Il Jong and Kim Yong Su, senior officials of the C.C., WPK. -0-

김정은동지께서 청진조선소를 현지지도

(평양 7월 17일발 조선중앙통신)

경애하는 최고령도자 김정은동지께서 청진조선소를 현지지도하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 혁명사적교양실을 돌아보시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 청진조선소의 일군들과 로동계급은 위대한 수령님께서 12차례,위대한 장군님께서 6차례 다녀가신 영광의 일터에서 일하는 한없는 긍지와 자부심을 안고 조선소의 자랑찬 발전행로우에 아로새겨진 충실성의 바통,자력갱생의 바통을 이어 배무이에서 새로운 기적과 혁신을 창조함으로써 우리 당의 불멸의 령도업적을 길이 빛내여가야 한다고 강조하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 위대한 수령님과 위대한 장군님께서 현지지도하신 닻사슬직장을 비롯한 여러 생산공정들과 배무이현장을 돌아보시면서 조선소의 전반실태를 구체적으로 료해하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 이날 조선소에서 새로 무은 전투함선의 구조와 전술기술적제원,무장장비설치정형도 료해하시고 몸소 시험항해도 해보시면서 조선소로동계급이 자력갱생의 혁명정신을 높이 발휘하여 해군무력을 보다 강화할수 있게 기동 및 화력능력이 뛰여난 전투함선을 잘 만든데 대하여 평가하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 청진조선소는 배무이력사도 있고 기술수준도 높기때문에 앞으로 여러가지 배들을 더 잘 만들어낼수 있다고 고무하여주시면서 이곳 조선소의 배무이공정을 더욱 현대화하는데서 나서는 구체적인 과업들을 밝혀주시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 자신께서는 청진조선소 로동계급을 굳게 믿고 새로 계획하고있는 현대적인 화객선을 건조하는 사업을 이곳 조선소에 맡길것을 결심하였다고 하시면서 이미 《만경봉-92》호를 만들어본 경험도 있기때문에 얼마든지 할수 있을것이라고,대담하게 일판을 벌리고 혁명적으로 달라붙어 한번 본때있게 해보자고,이 과정에 조선소의 배무이기술을 더욱 발전시키고 생산공정들의 과학화,현대화를 높은 수준에서 실현함으로써 청진조선소가 우리 나라 선박공업을 한계단 도약시키는데서 기치를 들고나가게 하자고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 청진조선소의 일군들과 로동계급이 당이 제시한 새로운 투쟁목표를 실현하기 위한 투쟁에서 빛나는 위훈을 창조함으로써 당중앙의 기대에 훌륭히 보답하리라는 기대와 확신을 표명하시였다.

조선로동당 중앙위원회 간부들인 황병서동지,조용원동지,오일정동지,김용수동지가 동행하였다.(끝)

Kim Jong Un Inspects Fish Farms

Pyongyang, July 17 (KCNA) — The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un gave field guidance to the Raksan Offshore Salmon Farm and the Sokmak Atlantic Salmon Pedigree Farm run by Unit 810 of the Korean People’s Army.

He visited the Raksan Offshore Salmon Farm.

Going round the room for education in the revolutionary history and cage-net fish breeding ground, he acquainted himself in detail with the production at the farm.

It is important to create clean environment and establish a strict hygienic and anti-epidemic system in fish breeding grounds like in stockbreeding, he noted with appreciation that ten-odd settling troughs were newly arranged at rivers flowing to Raksan Bay and at waste water outlets of industrial establishments and seaweed and tangle culture grounds were built around cage-net fish breeding ground to prevent sea pollution and protect ecological environment.

He said that advanced technology should be positively introduced to put the offshore fish farming, cage-net fish farming, on a scientific and industrial basis and big efforts be directed to the work for preserving the uncontaminated ecological environment of sea on a high level so as to expand the water areas fit for breeding Atlantic salmon and produce this kind of fish in a larger quantity.

It is necessary to raise the level of putting the production of processed salmon on a scientific, automatic and modern basis, strictly ensure its hygienic safety and quality and realize its standardization, he said, adding that Atlantic salmon bred on the East Sea of Korea and processed fish should be intensively supplied to the Pyongyang Taedonggang Seafood Restaurant to improve the people’s diet.

He also toured the Sokmak Atlantic Salmon Pedigree Farm.

Going round the room for education in the revolutionary history, open-air fishing pond and other parts of the farm, he learned about its management and operation.

He highly appreciated the officials and employees of the farm for having done a lot of work through a dynamic drive for updating the farm on a high level over the last three years to carry out the tasks given by him on the spot in May 2015.

They spruced up the room for education in the revolutionary history, established an automatic control system for water recycling by computer and newly built oxygen-generating station, cylinder caisson and ultraviolet sterilizing station to increase the capability of water purification and oxygen saturation. They also rebuilt the modern fattening ground in a hygienic and anti-epidemic way to raise the survival rate of fry salmon, remodeled 54 concrete fishing ponds at 6 indoor blocks into resin ones and settled the problem of disposing waste water to decisively decrease the death rate of fish. Besides, they newly built superfine grinder, bulking feed plant and 1000-ton feed storehouse and established a system of feed production by antibiosis.

Giving appreciation of such achievements, the Supreme Leader said it is vary admirable that our scientists established a technique for preventing group death of salmon fries and thus made it possible to breed hundreds of thousands of salmon fries at sea this year.

Now it is possible to further activate the culture of salmon given the enough material and technical foundations for safety production of Atlantic salmon and the increase of the level of its scientification and modernization, he noted, expressing his great pleasure over the appearance of a promising delicious fish producer in the country.

He had a photo session with the officials and employees of the pedigree farm, expressing the expectation and belief that they would be a model of the country in implementing the WPK’s pisciculture policy by steadily adding to the achievements under the banner of putting the fish farming on a Juche, modern, scientific, industrial and intensive basis.

Accompanying him were Hwang Pyong So, Jo Yong Won, O Il Jong and Kim Yong Su, senior officials of the WPK Central Committee. -0-

김정은동지께서 조선인민군 제810군부대산하 락산바다련어양어사업소와 석막대서양련어종어장을 현지지도

(평양 7월 17일발 조선중앙통신)

경애하는 최고령도자 김정은동지께서 조선인민군 제810군부대산하 락산바다련어양어사업소와 석막대서양련어종어장을 현지지도하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 락산바다련어양어사업소를 현지지도하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 혁명사적교양실과 그물우리양어장을 돌아보시면서 락산바다련어양어사업소의 생산정형을 구체적으로 료해하시였다.

축산과 마찬가지로 양어장들에서도 깨끗한 환경을 조성하며 위생방역체계를 철저히 세워야 한다고 하시면서 락산만으로 흘러드는 하천들과 공장,기업소 퇴수구들에 10여개의 침전장들을 새로 설비하고 그물우리주변에 미역,다시마양식장을 꾸려 바다물오염을 막고 생태환경을 보호하고있는데 대하여 평가하시였다.

바다양어,그물우리양어를 과학화,공업화하기 위한 선진기술을 적극 받아들이며 오염되지 않은 깨끗한 바다의 생태환경을 높은 수준에서 유지보호하기 위한 사업에 힘을 넣어 대서양련어양어에 알맞는 적지수역을 확대전개하여 곳곳에서 더 많은 대서양련어를 생산하여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

련어가공품생산의 과학화,자동화,현대화수준을 높이고 위생안전성과 품질을 철저히 담보하며 규격화,표준화를 실현하여야 한다고 하시면서 우리 나라 동해바다에서 양어한 대서양련어와 가공품들을 평양대동강수산물식당에 집중적으로 보내주어 인민들의 식탁을 더욱 풍성하게 해주어야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 석막대서양련어종어장을 현지지도하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 혁명사적교양실과 야외양어못을 비롯한 종어장의 여러곳을 돌아보시면서 관리운영과 경영활동을 료해하시였다.

석막대서양련어종어장의 일군들과 종업원들이 2015년 5월현지지도과업을 높이 받들고 지난 3년동안 종어장을 높은 수준에서 현대화하기 위한 투쟁을 힘있게 벌려 많은 일을 해놓은데 대하여 높이 평가하시였다.

혁명사적교양실을 정중히 꾸리였으며 콤퓨터에 의한 물재순환자동조종체계를 확립하고 산소발생장,침강정,자외선소독실을 새로 건설하여 련어양어에서 걸리고있던 수질소독 및 산소포화능력을 높일수 있게 하였으며 새끼련어의 사름률을 높이기 위하여 현대적인 비육장을 위생방역적으로 개건하고 6개의 실내호동들에 있는 54개의 콩크리트양어못들을 수지양어못으로 개조하였을뿐아니라 퇴수처리문제도 해결하여 물고기페사률을 결정적으로 줄일수 있게 하였으며 초미분쇄장,팽화사료공장,1,000t급사료창고를 새로 건설하고 병균을 막는 익생균에 의한 사료생산체계를 세워놓은데 대하여 치하하시였다.

특히 새끼련어들의 무리페사를 막을수 있는 기술을 확립하여 올해에 수십여만마리의 새끼련어들을 바다에서 양어할수 있게 한데 대하여 우리 과학자들이 정말 용타고 높이 평가하시였다.

이제는 대서양련어를 안전하게 생산할수 있는 물질기술적토대가 충분히 갖추어지고 과학화,현대화수준도 한계단 높아져 련어양어를 보다 활성화할수 있게 되였다고 대단히 만족해하시면서 우리 나라에 전망이 확고한 고급어족생산기지가 마련된데 대하여 기쁨을 금치 못하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 석막대서양련어종어장의 일군들과 종업원들이 양어의 주체화,현대화,과학화,공업화,집약화의 기치를 높이 들고 성과를 계속 확대해나감으로써 당의 양어정책관철에서 전국의 본보기가 되리라는 기대와 확신을 표명하시고 그들과 함께 기념사진을 찍으시였다.

조선로동당 중앙위원회 간부들인 황병서동지,조용원동지,오일정동지,김용수동지가 동행하였다.(끝)

AP News covered the following report, giving an on-site inspection by a North Korean leader attention that the genre usually doesn’t get internationally. I’m unable to find the term “extremely enraged” in either reports – the expression that appears to come closest is “엄하게 추궁하시였다”, meaning to “strictly press” someone on a matter, but it may be a matter of nuances in translation.

Kim Jong Un Inspects Orangchon Power Station under Construction

Pyongyang, July 17 (KCNA) — The respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un inspected the Orangchon Power Station under construction.

He exchanged greetings with the officials who greeted him, appreciating their services. He said that he came to personally learn about the situation and take measures as the project has not yet been completed although it has been more than 30 years since President Kim Il Sung gave an instruction to build the power station.

He first went round the construction site of the Phalhyang Dam.

Pointing out that only 70 percent of the project has been done although it has been 17 years since the construction started, he acquainted himself with the reason of the delayed project.

Now upper organs, in disregard of the situation of lower organs, only make a wordplay that the construction of the Orangchon Power Station is a task to be fulfilled in the period of the 5-year strategy for the national economic development, he said, pointing out that the Cabinet has only specified the project as a target project that should be accelerated with concentration of efforts in reports of its series of joint meetings or on the list of its stereotyped work plan but never taken any practical and blitz measure for economic and organizational work. He reprimanded the leading officials of the Cabinet for leaving the project to the province only and not paying attention to it.

Worse still, the officials who are responsible for the national economy make their appearances in every inaugural ceremony of power stations though they never inspected the power stations and dams when they were under construction, he added.

Noting that if the Orangchon Power Station is constructed, it will tangibly contribute to promoting the economy and people’s livelihood in North Hamgyong Province where industrial establishments are located densely, he criticized the officials of the province and county for having not sent a letter to him in connection with the situation though they were much concerned of the delayed construction of the power station which is vital and urgent for the work of the province, and for having neither worked in a far-sighted manner nor focused their effort on the construction for the mere reason that it gives no immediate benefits but requires heavy investment.

He took a revolutionary measure by giving an instruction for the Party Central Committee to provide organizational guidance to the construction of the dam and the power station by mobilizing all party organizations and members and thus complete the project by October 10 next year.

Then, he went round the Orangchon Power Station No. 5.

Watching generating equipment installed at the power station, he said highly efficient and modern generating equipment should be installed and operated in full capacity to steadily increase the production of electricity, pointing out that the power station was built with so much effort but it fails to produce electricity in full capacity.

Noting that if the loss of electricity in transmission is decreased, electricity reserves equivalent to building some new power stations will be gained, he said produced electricity should be effectively used by taking a decisive measure to decrease the loss of electricity in transmission though it may require much effort.

Noting that the builders of the power station have so far done much with pure conscience despite difficulties, whether their efforts are known or not, and the dam is growing thanks to the intense loyalty and inexhaustible strength of the builders who have performed labor feats for implementing the Party policy, he ardently called on the whole country to turn out in the general drive, keeping step with the builders.

He was accompanied by Hwang Pyong So, Jo Yong Won, O Il Jong and Kim Yong Su, senior officials of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee. -0-

김정은동지께서 어랑천발전소건설장을 현지지도

(평양 7월 17일발 조선중앙통신)

경애하는 최고령도자 김정은동지께서 어랑천발전소건설장을 현지지도하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 마중한 일군들에게 수고가 많다고 인사를 나누시며 어랑천발전소를 건설할데 대한 위대한 수령님의 교시가 계신 때로부터 30여년이 지나도록 공사가 완공되지 못하고있는 실태를 현지에서 직접 료해대책하기 위하여 왔다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 먼저 팔향언제건설장을 돌아보시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 언제건설을 시작한지 17년이 되여오도록 총공사량의 70%밖에 진행하지 못한데 대하여 지적하시면서 공사가 진척되지 못하고있는 원인을 료해하시였다.

지금 우에서는 아래실태를 외면하고 어랑천발전소건설을 국가경제발전 5개년전략기간 수행할 과업이라고 말공부만 하고있으며 고작 련석회의 보고문이나 매번 판에 박은듯 꼭같은 내각사업계획서라는데 힘을 넣어 추진할 대상이라고 목록에나 써넣고 그 문서장만 들고 만지작거렸지 실제적이며 전격적인 경제조직사업대책을 세운것은 하나도 없다고,내각의 책임일군들이 도에만 방임해놓고 전혀 관심을 돌리지 않고있다고 질책하시였다.

더더욱 괘씸한것은 나라의 경제를 책임진 일군들이 발전소건설장이나 언제건설장에는 한번도 나와보지 않으면서도 어느 발전소가 완공되였다고 하면 준공식때마다는 빠지지 않고 얼굴들을 들이미는 뻔뻔스러운 행태라고 격하게 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 어랑천발전소를 건설하면 공업이 밀집되여있는 함경북도의 경제사업과 인민생활에 크게 이바지하게 될것이라고,도사업에 사활적이고 절실한 이 발전소건설을 두고 안타까워는 하면서도 자신에게 실태와 관련한 편지 한장 써보내지 않은 도와 군의 책임일군들도 한심하다고,앞을 내다보면서 전망적으로 사업하지 못하고 당장 눈에 띄는 가시적인 성과가 없고 투자가 많이 든다고 하여 발전소건설에 힘을 집중하지 않고 차요시하고있는데 참으로 답답하다고 하시면서 엄하게 추궁하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 당중앙위원회가 전체 당조직들과 당원들을 총발동하여 언제건설뿐아니라 어랑천발전소건설을 틀어쥐고 조직지도하여 다음해 10월 10일까지 공사를 완공할데 대한 혁명적인 대책을 세워주시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 이어 어랑천5호발전소를 돌아보시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 어랑천5호발전소에 설치한 발전설비를 보시면서 힘들게 발전소를 건설해놓고 전력을 능력대로 생산하지 못하면 안된다고 하시면서 효률이 높고 현대적인 발전설비들을 설치하고 만가동,만부하를 보장하여 전력생산을 끊임없이 늘여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

이와 함께 송배전계통에서 전력의 도중손실을 줄이면 몇개의 발전소를 새로 건설하는것과 맞먹는 전력예비가 나오게 된다고 하시면서 품이 좀 들더라도 전력도중손실을 줄이기 위한 결정적인 대책을 강구하여 생산된 전력을 효과적으로 리용하여야 한다고 말씀하시였다.

경애하는 최고령도자동지께서는 어랑천발전소건설자들이 국가사정이 어려운 조건에서도 누가 알아주건말건 순결한 량심을 묻으며 지금까지 많은 일을 하였다고,당정책관철을 위해 위훈의 구슬땀을 바쳐온 건설자들의 고결한 충정과 무궁무진한 힘에 의해 발전소언제가 쌓아지고있다고 하시면서 온 나라가 어랑천발전소건설자들과 호흡을 같이하며 총돌격전에 과감히 떨쳐나서자고 열렬히 호소하시였다.

조선로동당 중앙위원회 간부들인 황병서동지,조용원동지,오일정동지,김용수동지가 동행하였다.(끝)

All articles are sourced from kcna.kp, which doesn’t provide permanent links to individual articles.

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Crackdowns in North Korea continue against “anti-socialist elements”

July 16th, 2018

By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

The wave of crackdowns against “anti-socialist” activity in North Korea following the spring of summitry continues. The latest report by Daily NK (below) focuses on crackdowns against those breaking the economic rules in fishing villages. This all highlights a central problem with North Korea’s often ad-hoc marketization process: much of the space the state grants for economic activity beyond its reach, it can quickly take away whenever it sees fit:

While there are signs that the ‘anti-socialist’ crackdown by the North Korean authorities has slowed in recent days, sources have reported that crackdowns are still occurring in the fishing communities of North Hamgyong Province.

“There was a crackdown on a fishing company in Hamgyong Province that owned more fishing boats than it had registered with the state,” said a source in North Hamgyong Province on July 11.

“The boats that were registered with the state sent the required amount of fish to the government, while the catch from the unregistered boats was sent somewhere else. The company is getting punished for this.”

An inspection revealed that the fishing company had only 30 ships registered, but was actually operating more than 300 small fishing boats.

“The authorities are angry because they confirmed the number of unregistered fishing boats across North Hamgyong Province to be around 2,300,” said a separate source in North Hamgyong Province. “The authorities confiscated all of the unregistered boats and handed them over to the province’s major fishing enterprise. The state also ordered that all the fishing boat captains are to be replaced.”

There are still crackdowns on illegal activities in places that the authorities have designated as “problem areas.” The crackdown on the unregistered fishing boats has led to anger from fishermen in the towns.

The article also gives a clue to one of the sources of the so-called “ghost ships” that arrived on Japanese shores over the past year or so:

Locals are complaining that it is difficult for their small boats to fulfill the harvest quotas set by the government set and that the state is only focused on meeting those quotas with registered boats. Fishing boat operators contend that they risk their lives to earn a living and are being treated unfairly by the state.

“We have to catch seven tons of squid or sailfin sandfish during the harvest seasons, but we can’t catch even half of that in our small boats […] The state is calculating that the large number of unregistered boats means that fishing companies are fishing a lot and making a significant amount of money, but in fact fishing with such small boats means that we cannot catch much at all,” the second source quoted one captain as saying.

This source also stated that the crackdown has led to the firing of several fishing boat captains. “[The captains] just stare out to sea and are at a loss for what to do,” he said.

“They receive no rations from the state and are just eking out an existence. The crackdown has led to the collapse of the base of the fishing industry in the region.”

The initial source also said that captains that had purchased their own boats are unable to get any financial return on them.

“Many of them are complaining that nothing they do helps them make a living and are unsure how they will survive,” he said.

Article source:
North Korean authorities continue crackdowns in fishing villages
Ha Yoon Ah
Daily NK
2018-07-16

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South Korea, North Korea and Russia discuss railway cooperation

July 15th, 2018

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

Trilateral cooperation discussions on the cross-peninsular railway happened in Rason despite Russia’s earlier cancellation:

A group of representatives from South Korea’s presidential panel returned home Sunday after a trip to North Korea, where they discussed possible trilateral economic cooperation involving the two Koreas and Russia, its official said.

The Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation sent an 11-member team led by committee chairman Song Young-gil to the North’s northeastern border region of Rason. They stayed there for two days from Friday.

The team originally planned to attend a seminar hosted by Russia to discuss trilateral economic cooperation involving the two Koreas and Russia but canceled its participation. Instead it had discussions with North Koreans and Russians on the Rajin-Khasan project and other issues, the official said.

Rason, formerly known as Rajin and Sonbong, was designated as a special economic zone in 1991. The North has sought to develop the zone by drawing outside investment but faced setbacks amid its continued provocations.

The Rajin-Khasan project, in particular, is a logistics project aimed at transporting coal from Russia to the North by using a 54 km-long railway linking Khasan in Russia to the Rajin port of North Korea and then to South Korea by ship.

There have been test operations of the transport route three times, including the latest one in November 2015.

The trilateral cooperation project, however, has been put on hold as South Korea banned maritime transport from the North in early 2016 in the wake of the North’s nuclear and missile provocations.

South Korea and the United States have said that full-fledged economic cooperation with the North should wait until it carries out its promised “complete denuclearization.”

“The Rajin-Khasan project is not subject to U.N. sanctions but to sanctions imposed by the U.S. So we plan to draw up and propose a broad picture and make preparations for joint study until there is progress in denuclearization and discussion begins on lifting those sanctions,” the panel official said.

Article source:
Presidential panel discusses Rajin-Khasan cooperation during trip to N.K.
Yonhap News
2018-07-15

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Reopening Kaesong key to cooperation, says ROK gov’t official

July 13th, 2018

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

A South Korean official (albeit one specifically representing the interests of the zone) calls re-opening Kaesong a “first step” towards resumed inter-Korean economic cooperation. Yonhap:

A South Korean official in charge of promoting investments in North Korea’s Kaesong Industrial Complex said Friday that the reopening of the now-suspended industrial park in the North’s border town will be a first step towards resuming inter-Korean economic cooperation.

Addressing a unification symposium in Seoul, Kim Jin-hyang, chairman of the Kaesong Industrial District Foundation, said the operation of the Kaesong complex has to be restarted as quickly as possible.

“Inter-Korean economic cooperation cannot be discussed without the Kaesong Industrial Complex,” said Kim, who doubles as chief of the Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee.

The government of former President Park Geun-hye abruptly announced the closure of the Kaesong park on Feb. 10, 2016, in retaliation for the North’s fourth nuclear weapons test and long-range missile launch.

Kim dismissed the abrupt closure of the complex as a “completely failed policy,” saying, “The decision was a grave disaster that shut down peace, economy and security altogether. North Korea was never dealt a blow when the Kaesong park was closed.”

“The Kaesong complex was not a special favor to the North. It was intended to support the South Korean economy stuck in a low-growth trap,” he said.

Kim noted that the Kaesong park is also very symbolic in terms of security and peace, arguing that the mix of about 60,000 South and North Korean workers in a single location can deter tensions and guarantee peace.

He stressed that South Korea should now join Singapore, Russia and China in preparing for large-scale investments in North Korea following its successive summit talks with the United States and South Korea to enhance the peace mood on the Korean Peninsula.

Article source:
Reopening of Kaesong Industrial Complex key to inter-Korean cooperation: official
Yonhap News
2018-07-13

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Fuel prices are dropping in North Korea, and that’s a little odd

July 10th, 2018

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

As in the rest of the country, gas prices continue to fall in Pyongyang, data from NK Pro shows, but remains much higher than the closest available month of 2017.

At the same time, recent figures from China state that its exports of refined fuel products to North Korea continues to remain well below the ceiling mandated by UN sanctions. Asia Press reports a slight increase of diesel prices in Yanggang and North Hamgyong provinces, but it’s a fairly minor one and the data by NK Pro and Daily NK still represents more data points. So what’s a plausible explanation here?

My best guess is that it’s a combination of increased smuggling, perhaps aided by China’s declining vigilance in enforcing sanctions and restrictions against illicit trade across the border. Gas prices shot up last spring when China decided to drastically cut sales of fuel products to North Korea, citing financial reasons (that North Korea wouldn’t be able to pay), but the decision was very likely influenced by political considerations as well. Now with the multitude of summits between Kim Jong-un and Xi Jinping, and Kim and Trump, China’s willingness to enforce sanctions with the same vigor as it did through the second half of 2017 and the first half of 2018 has likely waned, impacting matters like fuel prices as well. It also seems plausible that fairly small changes in supply could change prices quite drastically, since North Korea already consumes a relatively small amount of gasoline and diesel on the whole.

Another possibility is that Chinese flows of unrefined oil through the pipeline in northwestern North Korea, through Dandong and Sinuiju, have increased. These aren’t monitored in the same way as Chinese sales of refined fuel to North Korea, and as far as I know, could be increased without the international community easily noticing. These oil flows also aren’t part of regular trade between the countries, and should be regarded more as Chinese financial support to North Korea.

My best bet would be on a combination of these two factors, but there’s obviously much we don’t know about the development.

Update 2018-07-15: NK News reports some US government data seeming to hint at what’s been going on. At least 89 hip-to-ship transfers occurred between January and May, in violation of UNSC sanctions:

North Korea likely conducted at least 89 ship-to-ship transfers to illicitly obtain refined petroleum products between January 1 and May 30, U.S. data provided to the United Nations and seen by NK News on Friday claims.

Pyongyang may have illegally imported up to 1,367,628 barrels of refined petroleum as a result of the transfers, upper-end estimates suggested, over double the 500,000 barrels authorized for export to North Korea each year by current UN sanctions.

Consequently, the U.S. recommended that the UN 1718 sanctions committee issue a “public note verbale to all UN Member States to inform them that the DPRK has breached the UNSCR 2397 OP5 refined petroleum product quota for 2018,” and that all countries should “order an immediate halt to all transfers of refined petroleum products to the DPRK.”

Since the May 30 data cut-off, the Japanese government has revealed details surrounding three extra cases of North Korean vessels caught conducting likely ship-to-ship transfers, with two on June 21 and June 22, and one on June 29.

Article source:
N. Korea likely conducted 89 illicit ship-to-ship transfers in 2018: U.S. data
Chad O’Carrol
NK News
2018-07-13

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China’s exports of fuel to North Korea below UN sanctions ceiling

July 6th, 2018

By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

Between January and May, Chinese imports of refined oil products did not go over the ceiling mandated by UN sanctions, reports Voice of America (in Korean):

중국이 올해 1월부터 5월까지 북한에 제공한 정제유가 유엔이 정한 상한선의 한 달 허용치 수준에 그친 것으로 나타났습니다. 이 정도 수준을 유지한다면 유엔이 정한 정제유 수출 한도를 넘지 않을 것이라는 지적입니다. 김현진 기자가 보도합니다.

중국이 올해 1월부터 5월까지 북한에 정제유 5천921t을 공급한 것으로 나타났습니다.

유엔 안보리 산하 대북제재위원회 (1718 위원회) 홈페이지에 따르면 중국은 1월 201t, 2월 1천 392t, 3월 2천438t, 4월 437t, 5월 1천451t을 북한에 공급했다고 유엔에 보고했습니다.

5개월 총공급량을 배럴로 환산하면, 약 4만7천400 배럴로 유엔이 설정한 한 달 허용치를 조금 넘는 수준에 불과합니다. 연간 대북 정유공급 제한 50만 배럴을 12개월로 나누면 한 달에 4만 1천 배럴 정도입니다.

유엔 안보리는 지난해 12월 채택한 대북결의 2397호를 통해 북한으로 유입이 가능한 정제유의 상한선을 연간 50만 배럴로 정했습니다. 이전 결의가 상한선으로 정했던 200만 배럴에 비해 75%가 줄어든 것입니다.

아울러 올해 1월부터 각국이 북한에 판매하거나 제공한 원유와 정제유 양과 금액을 보고하도록 했습니다.

대북제재 전문가인 윌리엄 브라운 조지타운대학 교수는 중국이 올해 초부터 5월까지 북한에 제공한 정제유는 극히 소량으로, 유엔 결의를 잘 지키고 있는 것으로 보인다고 말했습니다.

[녹취: 브라운 교수] “The recent data provided to the UN from China suggest that they exported about 40,000 barrels to the North Korea in the first 5 months, that well below UN sanction limit…..”

또 올해 남은 기간 동안 이 정도 수준을 유지한다면 유엔이 정한 정제유 수출 한도를 넘지 않을 것으로 보인다고 말했습니다.

브라운 교수는 특히 김정은 국무위원장이 중국을 방문했던 5월 중국이 북한에 제공한 정제유도 소량에 불과했다고 지적했습니다.

[녹취: 브라운 교수] “The month after Kim’s visit to Beijing, China is still only shipping very small amount of refined products and it is still obeying the UN sanctions, according to China. But actually it’s very important that China is telling the world it is still obeying the sanctions… ”

자료에 따르면 중국은 5월 1천451t의 정제유 제품을 북한에 공급했습니다. 전 달 437t을 공급한 것에 비해 3배 이상 늘었지만, 지난 해 같은 기간6천400t에 비해 77% 감소한 규모입니다.

배럴로 환산해도 1만1천608배럴로 한 달 허용치에 크게 못 미치는 수준에 불과합니다.

앞서 헤더 노어트 국무부 대변인은 29일 폼페오 국무장관과 왕이 중국 외교부장과의 전화통화 소식을 전하면서, 폼페오 장관은 유엔이 금지하는 선박 환적을 통한 북한의 불법적인 석탄 수출과 정제유 수입과 관련한 유엔 안보리의 모든 대북 결의안에 대한 전면적 이행의 중요성을 강조했다고 전했습니다.

한편 올해 북한에 들어간 전체 정제유를 월별로 보면 1월, 569.62t에서 2월 3천274t으로 크게 늘었고 3월에는 1천t 이상 증가한 4천337t을 기록했습니다. 4월에는 437t으로 급감했다가 5월에는 다시 1천451t으로 세 배 이상 증가했습니다.

올해 1월부터 5월까지 북한에 수출된 정제유는 총 1만66t으로 집계됐습니다.

중국이5천921t, 러시아가 4천148t을 각각 북한에 제공했다고 신고했습니다. 중국과 러시아 외에 북한에 석유제품을 공급했다고 신고한 나라는 없습니다.

올해 북한에 수출된 정제유를 배럴로 환산하면 8만532 배럴로, 상한선의 15% 수준에 머물고 있습니다.

Article source:
유엔 “중국, 올 1~5월 북한에 정제유 5,921t 공급”…유엔 제재 상한선 크게 못 미쳐
Kim Hyun-jin
Voice of America
2018-07-06

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Protests against market crackdowns in North Korea

July 3rd, 2018

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

Daily NK reports on increased market crackdowns following the spring summits, in two recent articles:

Under the pretext of eradicating anti-socialist elements, North Korea’s authorities are cracking down on market activity. In reaction, some residents have openly protested the country’s state security officers.

“There was an assessment at the beginning of the month regarding the broad inspections conducted to uncover anti-socialist elements in downtown Hyesan City [located near the border with China]. Residents responded by complaining at the meeting, opposing the censorship in an organized fashion because the order was not being applied equally, and was not carried out very well overall,” a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK on June 29.

“Residents were saying, ‘Some houses were searched very lightly, while over 10,000 RMB (~1,500 USD) in cash was taken from others.’ ‘Some people were subject to the crackdown, while others were able to evade it.’ People were openly complaining, ‘If you’re going to steal money, take it from everyone equally!’”

“Those who were out of their homes during the crackdown no doubt got the tip off from the Ministry of State Security (political police). As the crackdown approached, they prepared by taking out all the money and products from their homes and disappeared without a trace. Why did those people get special treatment while the rest of us got hit by a bolt of lightning?” she added.

Crackdowns on the marketplace have eased since the beginning of the Kim Jong Un era, leading to a surge in market activity. However, there have been intermittent measures introduced and implemented by the authorities to stunt and stifle these developments. But North Korea’s residents, taking heed from the regime’s propaganda advising them to “pick themselves up by their own bootstraps,” have come to regard commercial activity as an inherent right.

There have been many confrontations with officials from the Ministry of People’s Security (police) in this regard. However, Ministry of State Security officials, tasked with handling the ideological control of the people, were once regarded as “angels of death,” before the marketization period. But now even their power has been sapped by the changing structure of North Korean society, specifically the shifting values brought on by marketization.

“The residents were busy complaining to the Ministry of State Security agents at the crackdown assessment, saying, ‘What power do we have?’ Facing this pressure from the residents, the investigating agents declined to taken intervening measures and instead hurriedly left the room,” a separate source in Ryanggang Province noted.

Many are also upset because Ministry of State Security agents are well known to accept bribes from market traders. As levels of mistrust and anger increase, the situation is reportedly deteriorating.

Asked to describe the current atmosphere, a third Ryanggang-based source said, “Previously, when there was a crackdown coming, people would let each other know. This time, people are warning each other but also accusing each other. Making a living is difficult, and the authorities do nothing but launch investigations and confiscate money, so the people are lashing out.”

The residents are also upset about the regime’s propaganda and the fact that punishments are not being meted out evenly.

“It’s said that all the money and property seized during the investigations is being sent for construction projects in Samjiyon County, but nobody actually believes that. The Ministry of People’s Security conducted ideological evaluations of the residents after the investigation, but the residents are powerless to resist,” the initial source concluded.

North Korea proclaimed that it would launch a war of annihilation against anti-socialist behavior this year, and has strengthened its crackdown on the trade of South Korean cultural content and products that reflect capitalist culture.

Article source:
North Koreans protest unfair market crackdowns
Kim Yoo Jin
Daily NK
2018-07-03

 

And the anti-imperialist struggle goes on, to the detriment of the markets:

Following special orders given to Party cadres, the North Korean authorities have been continually emphasizing the importance of rejecting foreign culture and adhering to socialism. The policy marks a clear divergence from the leadership’s peace offensive on the international stage, and is seen as an effort to crackdown on residents, strengthen internal solidarity, and increase loyalty.

During a telephone call with Daily NK on June 27, an inside source from Ryanggang Province said, “Immediately before the US-North Korea summit on June 12, the authorities gathered the cadres and delivered a lecture to them. It was announced that as the imperialist ideological attack takes place, we need to slam the socialist door of Juche (self-reliance) shut even tighter.”

The lecture distinguished for the first time the type of behavior that denigrates socialism. It was explained in great detail which social phenomenon fell into which category.

For example, the authorities labeled as anti-socialist the practice of dyeing one’s hair and wearing decadent clothing that clouds the socialist spirit. “Inform them not to wear long socks (mesh stockings) with flowers drawn on them, or clothes with English lettering on them,” the source recounted.

“It was emphasized that, if one sells these products in the markets, all of the goods will be confiscated. In particular, women will have to pay a fine of 30 yuan (about US $4.50) if they are caught wearing skirts that ride above the knee.”

Behavior that is considered counter to socialism includes acts like criticizing the Party’s policies and the enjoyment of overseas culture. “Illegal cell phones, illegal TV shows and movies, South Korean movies, radios, South Korean songs, erotic dancing, etc. were noted. If caught associated with any of the above, residents are subject to severe punishment without trial,” a source in North Hamgyong Province said, adding that the same lectures took place in that province.

“Erotic dancing refers to the dance craze spreading around Pyongyang at the moment, which involves copying the moves of South Korean pop stars. It’s also targeted at eradicating the practice of teaching these sorts of dance classes for money.”

Both sources noted that daily emphasis has been placed on expanding the role of Group 109 [a task force dedicated to rooting out the spread of foreign media].

“Through strengthened control over residents, no capitalist elements are being allowed to step even a single foot on this land [North Korea],” the source in Ryanggang Province explained.

Asked about the reaction of the cadres, the North Hamgyong-based source said that “they feel as if they’ve been struck on the back of the head.”

“The cadres are guessing that as the international relations of the country improve, their role will be to ensure that the people remain isolated,” he continued.

“The future looks discouraging – we’ll need to live with our mouth, eyes, and ears closed.”

Article source:
Cadres told to reinforce North Korea’s seal to fight ‘imperialist ideology’
Kim Yoo Jin
Daily NK
2018-07-03

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Kim orders officials to study lessons from China

July 2nd, 2018

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

Daily NK reports on both lower fuel prices and a decree by the central authorities for provincial officials to study the lessons Kim learned from his most recent trip to China:

After returning from his visit to China (June 19-20), North Korean Chairman Kim Jong Un summoned all provincial managers in the country to the capital city of Pyongyang. Sources indicate he used the meeting to explain the current status and future direction of strategic relations with China and handed down new orders on agriculture.

“After the leader [Chairman Kim Jong Un] visited China, he called into Pyongyang every provincial Party chairman and People’s Committee chairman. It seems he instructed the central Party cadres to learn from the agricultural scientific achievements that he witnessed in China,” a source in Ryanggang Province told Daily NK on June 27.

“Residents are saying that the authorities are showing special interest in agriculture because it’s the most important sector right now. Residents are sharing the thought that if they can only solve the country’s food shortage problem, they will be able to live like other strong nations.”

“Seeing as he visited China three times within a short time frame,” he added, “it’s likely that he spoke about that as well. He probably talked about how China will be useful in the new era that will focus on economic development.”

On his trip to a Chinese agricultural science center, Chairman Kim learned about advanced cultivation methods, with North Korea’s Party-run Rodong Sinmun publication providing detailed reports to the North Korean population. This can be viewed as an acknowledgment of China’s scientific excellence, as well as an effort to promote the normalization of Sino-NK ties to the domestic audience.

Following Chairman Kim’s visits, rumors are circulating among residents that “aid from China” could be in the offing.

“After the Leader’s trip to China this time, the Chinese government said that it had shouldered the burden for international train costs from [the Chinese border city of] Dandong to Pyongyang. The cost of diesel and gasoline has been declining recently, so residents are wondering whether China has been helping out,” a source in North Pyongan Province said.

The cost of gasoline per kilogram is 9,500 KPW and the cost of diesel is 6,500 KPW in the border town of Sinuiju. Compared to the beginning of the month, these prices represent a reduction of 4,500 KPW per kilogram in the price of gasoline and 1,000 KPW in the price of diesel.

Responding to the falling price of oil, the transportation and distribution sectors are showing signs of increased activity, with “servicha [vehicles used by independent operators to move people and goods for a fee] and other vehicle owners like the donju [North Korea’s new rich class] enjoying the cheaper gas prices,” he added.

As North Korea continues its diplomatic blitz, meeting with the US, South Korea, and China, the expectations of residents are surging.

“Recently, [Kim Jong Un] signed the Panmunjom Declaration with South Korea, then went to China, then held talks with America, known to be the enemy. On the domestic stage, there have been some minor changes, but residents have high expectations. We are holding these high hopes because all of these countries – South Korea, China, and the US – have very strong economies,” the North Pyongan Province-based source explained.

“The younger generation is particularly eager that they might be able to learn about the latest technology and technical skills from South Korea, China, and America. After the summit with the US, market traders have high hopes that the sanctions measures might be reduced.”

Article source:
Kim returns from China with new instructions for local Party leaders
Kang Mi Jin
Daily NK
2018-07-02

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UN foresees “surge” in humanitarian aid to North Korea

June 28th, 2018

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

In an interview by UN News, the UN resident coordinator for North Korea foresees that humanitarian aid will increase dramatically as relations (may) warm with the international community:

“For the UN, obviously it would mean a lot,” Tapan Mishra, the UN Resident Coordinator in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), told UN News, explaining that the 12 June summit between the leaders of DPRK and the United States not only opens up new opportunities for denuclearization and global peace, but would also help UN agencies to raise more funding to meet the country’s humanitarian needs.

He said that humanitarian funding for North Korea has declined dramatically since 2012. In 2017, only 31 per cent of the requested funding has been received. In 2018, the funding situation is even more alarming. Today, only 9 per cent or $10 million of the requested $111 million has been received to assist 6 million vulnerable people in DPRK through the 2018 Needs and Priorities Plan.

The lack of funding has already forced UN agencies to prioritize and scale down lifesaving programming. Chronic food insecurity and malnutrition remains widespread. Around 10.3 million people, or 41 per cent of the total population, are undernourished.

In this exclusive interview, Mr. Mishra talked about how the UN aid operations have continued to deliver despite the operational constraints, how economic sanctions have had unintended consequences for the lives of ordinary North Koreans and how the recent breakthrough to the political deadlock is giving rise to optimism among the people there.

Mr. Mishra leads the UN Humanitarian Country Team, consisting of six agencies on the ground – the UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP), the UN Population Fund(UNFPA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the World Health Organization (WHO); international non-governmental organizations and other international organizations engaged in humanitarian activities – with many other agencies supporting from outside.

Tapan Mishra: It’s a very important time. Regarding the recent summit that happened in Singapore between the leaders of DPR Korea and the US: it opens up new opportunities for global peace and hopefully stability and denuclearization. And for the UN, obviously, it would mean a lot. This is what we’ve been looking forward to: to have a diplomatic dialogue replace the possible threats of confrontation. And therefore, we hope to see a lot of support of the United Nations in DPRK to serve the people who are most needy and vulnerable, especially from a humanitarian perspective, right away.

The work of the UN could change depending on the “asks” that are made on the UN. The Secretary-General mentioned that the UN stands ready to serve. I see immediately there’ll be a huge surge in terms of humanitarian support that is needed.

As the Secretary-General has noted in his statement, relevant parts of the UN system stand ready to support this process in any way, including verification if requested by the key parties.  If there are other opportunities in the future moving from humanitarian to development, we would be able to look forward to making adjustments in our presence and our work in the future as well.

UN News: Can you describe what the UN country team does now to provide support to ordinary people there?

Tapan Mishra:At the moment, the United Nations Humanitarian Country Team in DPRK is primarily focused on providing humanitarian support to the most needy and vulnerable people. Of the 25.1 million people that are there, we are targeting in 2018 to support about 6 million people who need support – in terms of food security, nutrition, health, water, sanitation and hygiene. That’s what the UN country team and various agencies are providing in DPRK, with the support of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

UN News: There is a UN strategic framework for DPRK that looks ahead to 2021. So, does that have to be changed according to the recent evolving diplomatic situation?

Tapan Mishra:We, all UN agencies, have signed the strategic framework with the Government of DPRK for the five years from 2017 to 2021. This strategic framework is the equivalent of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) in a normal country. The situation in DPRK is quite unique. We could expand from humanitarian to possibly development in the future when the opportunity is right.

The strategic framework is more towards food and nutrition; security; social development services, which includes health, education, water, sanitation, hygiene, et cetera; and resilience sustainability, which includes energy, environment, climate change and disaster risk management.

So, when this scenario changes in terms of moving away from the humanitarian, which is our primary work currently, it may need to be adapted accordingly.

UN News: Do you mean that the recent political situation will be reflected on the strategic framework in the future?

Tapan Mishra:It depends. As you see, the Secretary-General has very clearly stated that the relevant UN agencies stand ready to serve, whether it’s for the verification, or for other support required. If there are adjustments that need to be made, it will be made at the appropriate time.

UN News: Can you describe what life is like for average citizens in North Korea?

Tapan Mishra:The humanitarian situation remains grim for millions of civilians in the country. There are children who are affected by acute malnutrition. Chronic food insecurity and malnutrition remains widespread, driven by the limited availability of arable land – only 17% of land is arable – lack of access to modern agricultural equipment and fertilizers, and recurrent natural disasters. Chronic malnutrition is devastating to young children. A staggering number of children – over a quarter (27.9%) of children under-five –  are stunted.

This will affect them for the rest of their lives. And we have programmes for supporting kindergartens, children, infants, as well as pregnant and lactating mothers, the elderly, and people with disability. So, for them, life is challenging and difficult. There are gaps that need to be met with humanitarian assistance. Therefore, we are – you may have seen the needs and priorities document for 2018 – looking for support from donors to provide us financial assistance to be able to provide humanitarian aid to the people in need.

UN News: How much have economic sanctions affected everyday life in North Korea?

Tapan Mishra:I have raised this issue, not only with the Chair of the UN Sanctions Committee (1718 Committee) that there are unintended consequences of the sanctions that are being seen in terms of the work that we do in the UN and other humanitarian agencies. And we have received good support from the Committee to look into these issues.

UN News: Looking over the last two decades, how has the UN humanitarian operation coped with the fluctuating political situation on the Korean Peninsula?

Tapan Mishra:That’s a very insightful question. In the last two decades, there has been ups and downs. Right now, we’re on a down. In the last three years, the receipt of humanitarian funding has been between only 20 and 30 per cent of the funding that we have requested. And this year, despite all these positive political directions, the funding currently is only at 9 per cent of the $111 million we are seeking.

UN News: So, do you expect that if the positive political development continues, more humanitarian funding will come?

Tapan Mishra:I really hope so. Now that the positive political doors are opening, the summit that perhaps opened the door of complete and verifiable denuclearization, we are hoping that Member States will support the UN and other agencies in providing humanitarian support to the most vulnerable population. And again, hopefully, that will lead to a new increase in the humanitarian support that we are receiving.

UN News: How does a deterioration in the political situation impact the humanitarian operation?

Tapan Mishra:Two or three things. First, humanitarian funding was very badly affected. That really impedes our ability to provide the support needed. So, agencies had to cut down on their programmes because there has been no funding. Second, we’ve had unintended consequences of sanctions. Even humanitarian aid has got affected. Third, the banking channel that we had for getting money in the country completely collapsed. We don’t have an option right now and we are looking for one. So, these three have been major challenges for us if we are to be able to provide the humanitarian assistance in the most effective manner.

UN News: Have you seen any changes in the level of cooperation or contact you have with the Government since last year?

Tapan Mishra: Over the past years, the UN and partners have invested heavily in building confidence and understanding by the government for humanitarian actors and humanitarian interventions. Agencies work according to “no access, no aid”, an approach which is understood and accepted by the authorities. This continued, principled and robust engagement has translated into better access, better monitoring, better programming, and better cooperation.

UN News: Have you seen any optimism among the ordinary North Koreans recently?

Tapan Mishra: Certainly. I haven’t been to DPRK after the summit but I will be going there soon. But what I hear from people, and I’ve been noticing there is a visible optimism and I’m sure everybody is looking forward to moving towards a better and more prosperous future with peace and stability ahead. So, I’m sure there is optimism, not only among the people in DPRK, but among the people in the world. So, this is an era of new peace and stability on the Peninsula, which will bring in hopefully global peace and development.

UN News: Any message you’d like to convey?

Tapan Mishra:The UN has been working there for a long time and, despite all the challenges, we have been serving on the mandates that we’ve had. We stand ready on the ground to do more as needed and we look forward to the support of all Member States in carrying out our mandate, by helping us get more humanitarian funding support, by helping us ensure that the unintended consequences of sanctions is reduced or completely overcome. And hopefully, peace and development will come in the future on the Peninsula. And hopefully, we will have a much better situation globally.

Article source:
INTERVIEW: UN’s top official in North Korea foresees ‘surge’ in humanitarian aid
UN News
2018-06-28

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