The closing of the Pyongsong Market

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
(NK Brief No. 09-18-1)
9/18/2009

(Here is the location of the Pyongsong Market)

The Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (Nknet) reported that previous wholesale market near in Pyongsong Plaza and the provincial committee building has completely closed its doors in mid-Jun. Currently, there are two markets being operated in a reduced form in two separate districts.

The newly formed jangmadang in two districts are extension of previous alley markets and it is reported to be under construction but still operating. The size of the new market is said to encompass between seven to eight thousand seats compared to thirty to forty thousand seats of the former Pyongsong Wholesale Market.

The reported reason behind the closure of the wholesale market was, “triggered by the North Hwanghae Provincial Secretary’s proposal to close down Pyongsong jangmadang. He stated that ‘there is no use for such market although it is the most profitable market in North Korea. Since the profits are embezzled by individuals and not utilized towards the beautification of the city, it serves no benefit to society.’”

A large number of merchants from the previous Pyongsong Wholesale Market are reported to be secretly selling their goods from the market at home. Complaints are arising over the surveillance and inspection from the police in which once detected, all the items are confiscated with no compensation.

There are continuous rumors circulating surrounding the conversion into agricultural market except for two markets in Haesan. However, there are no concrete changes and only talks of starting a possible transition to agricultural market from next year. Also food distribution is rumored to start from next year along with the conversion into agricultural market.

Although some believe the food distribution is a result from the consideration from Kim Jong Il, such rumors are regarded to have no real effect on the residents of jangmadang. It is also reported many people have no faith that conversion into agricultural market will actually go into effect and believe it is only reemphasizing the previous dead letter measure of allowing only those older than 45 years old to participate in the market activity.

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One Response to “The closing of the Pyongsong Market”

  1. Michael Madden Says:

    At last check, the North Hwanghae Provincial Secretary, assuming this refers to KWP and not the head of the Provincial People’s Committee, is Choe Hyong-rae. Mr. Choe is a charter member of Jang Song-thaek’s political patronage network. He was appointed KWP Secretary of N. Hwanghae in 2006, having been banished and placed on probation. Previously Mr. Choe was department director of the Central Committee of the Kim Il-sung Youth League (KIS League of Socialist Working Youth).