Archive for January, 2010

First meeting of Korea Taepung International Investment Group held

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

UPDATE: According to the Choson Ilbo:

North Korea recently announced it wants to create a bank to finance national development projects and appointed a Korean-Chinese businessman named Pak Chol-su to head what is to be called the [North] Korea Taepung International Investment Group, which is to attract foreign capital for the bank. The seven-member board of directors at the investment company include usual suspects like Kim Yang-gon, the director of the Workers’ Party’s United Front Department, Jang Song-taek, Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law, and other key players.

But analysts say Pak, a foreigner, is the only one with the ability to attract overseas capital, leading to a sense among South Korean intelligence analysts that Pak was brought in to save what he can of the North Korean economy. It is not the first time. In 2002, the hermit country appointed Chinese-Dutch entrepreneur Yang Bin governor of the Sinuiju Special Administrative Region, though the plan belly-flopped when the Chinese arrested Yang on corruption charges.

According to North Korean sources, Pak was born in 1959, graduated from Yanbian University and has a master’s degree in business and commerce from another university in China. He later developed close ties with high-ranking North Korean officials selling Chinese gasoline in the North. “Since Chinese gasoline is used in cars, it is sold directly to North Korean military officers or key government agencies” since top officials are practically the only ones likely to have one, said one North Korean source. “Pak appears to have gained the confidence of high-ranking officials in the process.”

Pak is believed to have been responsible for setting up a secret meeting between Kim Yang-gon and South Korean Labor Minister Yim Tae-hee in Singapore last October. “Pak used his connections to help North Korea when it was looking for a contact point with the South Korean government after August last year, and it appears this position is his reward,” said Cho Bong-Hyun, a North Korea analyst with the Industrial Bank of Korea. There is speculation that Pak may be tasked with luring South Korean capital for investment in North Korea.

The Taepung International Investment Group was established in China and Hong Kong in September 2006 to lure foreign investment to North Korea. In 2007, Taepung signed an agreement with China’s Tangshan Iron and Steel to build a production plant in North Korea and was involved in getting the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to perform in Pyongyang in February 2008. The North announced last Wednesday that both Taepung and the bank would be headquartered in Pyongyang.

It remains to be seen whether Pak will generate the results the regime hopes for. Lee Jo-won, a professor of North Korean studies at Chung-Ang University, said, “Unlike the appointment of Yang Bin, there seems to have been a certain level of consent in terms of the role Pak will play. But without progress in the North Korean nuclear crisis, it’ll be virtually impossible for him to attract foreign investment.” One senior South Korean government official said, “Last year, North Korea apparently held an investment blitz in the EU and was disappointed to learn that continued economic sanctions due to its nuclear weapons program in effect prevent other countries from making any investment there.”

UPDATE: DPRK establishes national development bank in order to attract foreign capital
Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No.10-01-22-1

On January 20, the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the North’s most powerful government organization, the National Defense Commission, ordered the establishment of a ‘National Development Bank’ to “carry out investment affairs for projects important to national policy and to conduct business with international commercial banks and international financial institutions.”

Furthermore, the committee decided to establish the main branch of the ‘Korea Daepung International Investment Group’ in Pyongyang, which will operate as an economic consortium attracting foreign monies and ensuring the flow of capital for the National Development Bank. The KCNA reported that an announcement was made at the Pyongyang Yanggakdo International Hotel explaining that “the first meeting of the Korea Daepung International Investment Group board of directors had opened, and that at the meeting, the National Defense Commission’s decision regarding the establishment of the National Development Bank and the mediation committee of the Korea Daepung International Investment Group had been created.”

The news agency went on to explain that the National Development Bank would conduct business with international financial institutions and commercial banks according to “modern financial standards and systems,” ensuring necessary investments in support of projects central to the promotion of national policy. The KCNA also reported that at the meeting, an order from Kim Jong Il was passed down with the title “On Ensuring the Operations of the Korean Daepung International Financial Group.”

Kim Yang-gun (a member of the National Defense Commission and director of the Unification Strategy Department) was selected as Chairman of the Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, while Chinese-Korean Bak Cheol-su was chosen as president and chairman of the board. The 7-member board of directors is reportedly made up of representatives from the National Defense Commission, the Cabinet, the Ministry of Public Finance, the Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, the Korea Daepung International Investment Group, and other related offices.

The board of directors meeting also discussed and voted on bylaws, a 2010 action plan and an annual budget for the Korea Daepung International Investment Group as well as activities for a preparatory committee for the establishment of the National Development Bank. It was also decided to form a secretariat for the board of directors.

In September 2006 the Daepung International Investment Group was established in Hong Kong by North Korean authorities in order to serve as a window for foreign investment, and the group was part of the effort in October 2007 to entice investment from the Chinese Tangshan Iron and Steel Group. It also played a role in bringing the New York Philharmonic Orchestra to Pyongyang in February 2008.

This latest measure appears to indicate that the North Korean leadership is taking a more aggressive drive to entice foreign capital, but it is not yet clear if the move will have any significant impact. It stands out that as sanctions enforced against the North by the international community make it difficult for Pyongyang to attract foreign investment, the North is stressing its intention to uphold “modern standards” for those willing to invest.

The Daepung Group rose to prominence in 2007 as a new window for attracting foreign investment into the North when it reached agreements with China’s Dangshan Steel and Iron Group, the country’s 3rd largest steel company, and Datang Power to form a joint venture to build a 1.5 million-ton processing plant and a 600,000 kW coal-burning power plant in the Kimchaek Industrial District.


Pyongyang, January 20 (KCNA) — The first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Korea Taepung International Investment Group took place at Yanggakdo International Hotel on Wednesday.

It was attended by directors of the board of the group and officials concerned as observers.

Conveyed there were an order of the chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission “On ensuring the activities of the Korea Taepung International Investment Group” and decisions of the DPRK NDC “On establishing the State Development Bank” and “On setting up the Coordinating Committee of the Korea Taepung International Investment Group”.

At the meeting Kim Yang Gon, chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, was elected director-general of the board of the group and Pak Chol Su, a Korean resident in China, permanent deputy director-general and president of the group.

The board of directors is made up of seven persons including representatives of the National Defence Commission, the Cabinet, the Ministry of Finance and an office concerned of the DPRK, the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee and the Korea Taepung International Investment Group.

The meeting decided to set up a secretariat of the board of directors and named its members.

It deliberated and decided on the draft rules of the Korea Taepung International Investment Group, its action program and financial budget bill for 2010, a resolution on starting the operation of a preparatory committee for establishment of the State Development Bank and other agenda items related to the work of the group.

Kim Yang Gon made a keynote report and Pak Chol Su an address on the work of the group at the meeting.

The group, an external economic cooperation body, will play the role of an economic complex ensuring the induction of investment and finances for the State Development Bank, and it will be headquartered in Pyongyang.

The State Development Bank is to provide investment on major projects to be carried out according to the state policy after being equipped with advanced banking rules and system needed for transactions with international monetary organizations and commercial banks.

The Choson Ilbo has more:

North Korea will establish a state development bank which will deal with international financial organizations and commercial banks and invest according to state policies, the official [North] Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday. The decision was made by the powerful National Defense Commission, which is headed by leader Kim Jong-il.

It will also set up an international cooperation agency called the Joson Daepung International Investment Group to take charge of attracting investment for the bank, KCNA said.

KCNA claimed the bank has “modern financial rules.” Kim Yang-gon, the director of the Workers’ Party’s United Front Department, has been named chairman of the Joson Daepung Investment Group, and Pak Chol-su vice chairman.

A North Korean source said Pak is a Korean-Chinese businessman who maintains relations with South Korean officials and businessmen. He apparently once arranged a secret inter-Korean meeting.

Pak is also believed to have been involved in a secret meeting held between Labor Minister Yim Tae-hee and Kim Yang-gon in Singapore last October.

Rumor has it that Jang Song-taek, Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law and the director of the Administrative Department of the Workers’ Party, is also on the board of directors.

North Korea will establish a state development bank which will deal with international financial organizations and commercial banks and invest according to state policies, the official [North] Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday. The decision was made by the powerful National Defense Commission, which is headed by leader Kim Jong-il.

It will also set up an international cooperation agency called the Joson Daepung International Investment Group to take charge of attracting investment for the bank, KCNA said.

KCNA claimed the bank has “modern financial rules.” Kim Yang-gon, the director of the Workers’ Party’s United Front Department, has been named chairman of the Joson Daepung Investment Group, and Pak Chol-su vice chairman.

A North Korean source said Pak is a Korean-Chinese businessman who maintains relations with South Korean officials and businessmen. He apparently once arranged a secret inter-Korean meeting.

Pak is also believed to have been involved in a secret meeting held between Labor Minister Yim Tae-hee and Kim Yang-gon in Singapore last October.

Rumor has it that Jang Song-taek, Kim Jong-il’s brother-in-law and the director of the Administrative Department of the Workers’ Party, is also on the board of directors.

(From a reader):  The Korea Taepung International Investment Group (조선태풍국제투자그룹) will attract and coordinate investment – ostensibly from China as a founding member is a Korean Chinese. The group’s charter came from Kim Jong-il , Chairman of the NDC, and its board members include Kim Yang-gon, chairman of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee (who was elected chairman of the board), Pak Ch’ol-su, a Korean-Chinese (elected standing vice chairman of the board and president), and seven persons representing the NDC, Cabinet, Ministry of Finance, relevant ministries, Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, and the Choson Taep’ung International Investment Group. This seems to be a major salvo in North Korea’s current campaign to ease international tensions, curry desperately needed investment, and ultimately get the country back on its centralized economy track.

According to NK Leadership Watch: In the video footage of the meeting (1/20/2010 on Kim Chang-sun can bee seen.  He is on Kim Jong il’s secretariat.

The Pyongyang Times has more here.


GPI 2010 business delegations to DPRK

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

From GPI:

In the current financial and economic situation, companies face many challenges. They must cut costs, develop new products and find new markets. In these fields, North-Korea might be an interesting option. Since a few years, it is opening its doors to foreign enterprises. The labor costs are the lowest of Asia, and its skilled labor is of a high quality. It established free trade zones to attract foreign investors and there are several sectors, including textile industry, shipbuilding, agro business, logistics, mining and Information Technology that can be considered for trade and investment.
European Business Mission (May 2010) & Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair
Information Flyer Here(PDF)

In order to explore these business opportunities, we are organizing again a business mission to North-Korea (15 – 22 May). We will also visit the annual Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair. This fair can be used by European companies to come in contact with potential buyers and suppliers in North-Korea. Information abouth both events has been attached.
North-Korean investment mission to visit The Netherlands (February)
There are investment opportunities in several areas, such as textiles; agro business (e.g. export of vegetables, fruit and flowers to South-Korea); mining (e.g. zinc, mica, tungsten, rare metals); real estate (e.g. office buildings); renewable energy (e.g. windenergy, batteries); Information Technology; electronics; chemicals and tourism. A high-ranking delegation from North-Korea will visit The Netherlands at the end of February, in order to discuss these opportunities in detail and to present specific investment projects. We can be contacted for further details.
New book on European – North Korean relations
Information Flyer Here (PDF)
This spring, the Hanns Seidel Foundation (Germany) will publish a new book about the relations between Europe and North-Korea. The publication: “Europe – North Korea: Between Humanitarianism and Business?” also contains two chapters about trade development and business issues – including my article on IT-cooperation. Its Table Of Contents has been attached.     

With best regards, Paul Tjia (director) 
GPI Consultancy, P.O. Box 26151, 3002 ED Rotterdam, The Netherlands
E-mail: [email protected] tel: +31-10-4254172  fax: +31-10-4254317 Website:


Jesus at Mangyongdae

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

A reader sent in this photo of a North Korean girl visiting Mangyongdae in Pyongyang:

Click image for larger version

This shirt obviously originated in China and was purchased in a local market. The “Chinglish” reads: “I Love Jesus” and “Tinkerbell, Trust and Pixie Dust”.

Follow-up: I allowed RFA to use this image, but it has shown up elsewhere along with quotes attributed to me that I never made.  The Korea Times story is the only one that I can read, but I never spoke to them about this picture.  Here are all the media stories that I am aware of:  Korea Times, Yonhap,  Choson Ilbo, RFA.


DPRK aims to re-establish 10-day markets

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

According to the Choson Ilbo, the DPRK government has not given up trying to re-implement the 10-day rule:

“The North Korean Cabinet has told agencies under each ministry and provincial and municipal chapters of the Workers Party that it will replace urban marketplaces with farmers markets that will open every 10 days starting Jan. 14,” the Group Good Friends said in a newsletter. “The cabinet also released market operating rules and a list of items that can be sold, adding that market traders will be permitted to sell only agricultural produce and indigenous local products but not Chinese goods or domestically produced industrial products.”Large markets began sprouting in the North in 2004, increasing to an estimated 300 by 2007. North Korean authorities decided to crack down on black-market traders who move around all the time to dodge the authorities, and back-alley deals for fear that the practices would run rampant if unchecked, it said.

I have located approximately 200 markets in the DPRK using Google Earth.  Links to locations of the Pyongsong, Chongjin and Hamhung wholesale markets can be found in this post.


First DPRK-RoK joint venture in Rason announced

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

According to the AFP:

A South Korean company said Tuesday it is planning a joint-venture factory in a free-trade zone in northeastern North Korea, the first such investment by Seoul in the faltering project.

Food processor Merry Co said Pyongyang last month approved its partnership with state-run Korea Gaeson General Trading Corp in the Rason zone near the North’s border with China and Russia.

“We’re going to have a first joint venture between the two Koreas in Rason,” Merry president Chung Han-Gi told AFP.

The North this month upgraded the status of the zone in an attempt to invigorate anaemic foreign investment there.

Chung said his company would invest 60 percent of the 7.5 million dollar cost of the new plant while its North Korean partner would put in 40 percent.

He said he would this week ask the South’s unification ministry, which must authorise all cross-border contacts, to approve the joint venture.

The communist state designated the Rajin-Sonbong Economic Special Zone — later renamed Rason — in 1991, its first such project. But little foreign investment materialised and senior officials who headed the project were reportedly sacked.

In recent years the North has begun trying to revive it, signing an accord with Russia to rebuild railways and the port there. China has also been exploring investment opportunities in the city.

The North’s leader Kim Jong-Il paid his first visit to the zone last month and state media said later that parliament has designated Rason as a municipality to upgrade its status.

South and North Korea have a joint-venture industrial estate at Kaesong near their border. Its operations have often been hit by political tensions, but the two sides were to start talks Tuesday on ways to develop it.

Chung said his firm’s joint venture at Rason, which would have some 200 North Korean employees, plans to produce canned and processed food including tuna for exports.

Merry, which also has a factory in Shanghai, will send Chinese engineers to Rason next month to install production facilities.

The Choson Ilbo adds some interesting details:

This is the first time that Pyongyang has allowed for direct business collaboration, set to take place between North Korea’s Gaeson General Company and the South’s Chilbosan Merry Joint Venture.

The firms are slated to split investment 60/40 and will work together to process and export canned marine and agricultural products starting in March.

UPDATE 1: As reader Gag Halfron points out, this is not the first DPRK-RoK joint Venture. Remember Pyonghwa Motors and Pyongyang’s fried chicken restaurant?

UPDATE 2: In the comments, Werner notes the following:

Read the full articles below:
N.Korea OKs joint venture with South in trade zone

First Inter-Korean Joint Venture to Be Established
Choson Ilbo


China to renew border rail link with N. Korea

Monday, January 18th, 2010

tumen-chongjin.JPG tumen-rr-crossing.JPG
Click on images for larger versions

According to Yonhap:

China will mend a rail link between one of its border cities and a North Korean port, a source familiar with North Korean affairs said Sunday, a move that indicates stronger economic ties between the two allies.

North Korea and the municipal government of the Chinese city of Tumen, which borders the North, have recently agreed to repair the railway linking the city with North Korea’s northeastern port of Chongjin, the source said.

Additional Information: 

1. Above I have posted Google Earth images of the China-DPRK border area and a simple map of the DPRK’s North Eastern railway system.

2. Long-time readers will remember that Russia recently installed Russian-gague railway track from the North Korean border to the city of Rason (Rajin-Songbon). It looks like both Russia and China get their own ports in the DPRK.

3. Chongjin is also home to both Russian and Chinese consulates


Swiss aid agency to leave DPRK

Monday, January 18th, 2010

According to this SDC web page:

Following a decision made by the Swiss Parliament, the SDC’s special programme in North Korea will be discontinued at the end of 2011.

There was not much in the media on this, but a reader pointed me to this article:

Switzerland is standing by a decision to stop development aid to North Korea, which has focused on improving food security in the internationally isolated country.

The foreign ministry says it now has a strategy for the withdrawal of Swiss development workers from the communist country by the end of 2011.

In 2008 the government approved a motion by parliamentarian Gerhard Pfister demanding a halt to development aid in response to North Korea’s continuing nuclear ambitions.

“The atomic weapon programme violates international agreements. North Korea has shown itself to be utterly uncooperative, despite international efforts. It threatens to destabilise the region,” the motion said.

Although Switzerland has no official representation in the communist country, diplomatic relations were established in 1974.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has had an office in the capital, Pyongyang, since 1997 [Possibly located here]. According to the motion, the SDC justified its work there by saying that “supporting the reform process” should improve food security. The SDC cited a “tentative opening” of the country as a success.

Pfister maintains that today North Korea is no longer showing a “tentative opening” – rather the opposite.

The SDC’s main priority in the country has been aid projects aimed at improving the efficiency and sustainability of North Korean agriculture.

Consistent policy?

The central question is whether it is wiser to isolate a totalitarian regime or to cooperate with it. The attitude of the Swiss parliament and government is clear: stop development aid.

But is the issue simply black and white? On December 21 Switzerland celebrated – in the presence of the North Korean foreign minister – the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations.

On December 28 Blaise Godet, the Beijing-based Swiss diplomat responsible for North Korea, told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung that Switzerland had nurtured a consistent policy of engagement and political dialogue. “We want to contribute to solutions,” he said.

As for the ending of aid at the end of 2011, foreign ministry spokesman Erik Reumann told that “the SDC would follow the decision of the government and parliament. A dismantling plan exists that will guarantee a well-organised withdrawal from North Korea”.

Similarities with Switzerland

While the Swiss government and parliament want to end development aid to North Korea, former justice minister Christoph Blocher, a leading figure in the rightwing Swiss People’s Party, has written in detail about his visit to the country – on a hiking holiday.

The self-confessed anti-communist noted in the Weltwoche weekly magazine in November that “one thing North Korea and Switzerland have in common is that both countries want to keep their autonomy and are working for a safe future”.

In Pyongyang Blocher said he came across “normal conditions”, but admitted that “we only had access to those areas and streets considered presentable”. Nevertheless, he continued, “the streets are tidy and the Korean people are all clean and decently dressed, and go everywhere on foot. People walk”.

But Blocher agreed that the food situation was unsatisfactory.

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SADC) web page is here.Here is a report they helped produce: Tools for building Confidence on the Korean Peninsula.


2009 Inter-Korean trade tops US$1.6 billion

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No.10-01-19-1

Last year, despite the impact of the economic recession, North Korea’s second nuclear test and other issues hindering inter-Korean exchanges, the previously sharply shrinking value of North-South Korean trade appeared to steady.

According to a report from the South Korean Customs Administration released on January 18, inter-Korean trade last year was down 8.5 percent from the previous year, amounting to 1.66608 billion USD. Exports to North Korea were worth 732.62 million USD, while 933.46 million USD worth of goods were brought into South Korea, giving Seoul a 200 million dollar trade deficit. Inter-Korean trade hit its lowest point last year in February (100.89 million USD), but since then showed slow-but-steady growth, hitting 173.18 in September.

In the aftermath of last year’s economic recession, together with the North Korean nuclear test, naval clashes in the West Sea in the area of the Northern Limit Line, etc., there were many difficult issues in 2009, but as inter-Korean trade numbers recovered in the fourth quarter, tensions eased slightly. Despite strained political tensions between the two Koreas, trade seemed not to be seriously affected, as DPRK goods were offloaded from a North Korean ship at Incheon Harbor and replaced with silica used for metal casting just six days after a clash between North and South Korean naval ships.

While growing trade is positive, this is the second year in a row South Korea has recorded a trade deficit with the North. In 2008, Seoul’s cross-border imports exceeded imports by 53.96 million USD. With Lehman Brothers’ collapse in September 2008 and the economic stagnation that followed, the South continued to record trade deficits for 15 straight months, until November of last year.

In December 2009, South Korean trade was back in the black (23.91 million USD) for the first time in 16 months. Looking back over time, it can be seen that inter-Korean trade has improved considerably over the years, recording a mere 705.68 million USD in 2004, 1.08872 billion USD in 2005, climbing to 1.3796 billion in 2006 and 1.79494 billion USD in 2007, and 1.82078 billion USD in 2008.

The import of North Korean sand, mushrooms, and smokeless charcoal briquettes in October 2009 required the permission of the South Korean government. This reflects Seoul’s more strict controls over management and oversight of inter-Korean trade following the sanctions and heightened concerns over cash deliveries to Pyongyang after its second nuclear test on May 25, 2009. Since the nuclear test, the South Korean government has limited the import of North Korean goods to only those that could ease losses being suffered by South Korean manufacturers.

According to the South Korean Ministry of Unification, among North Korean exports to the South in 2008, sand was the largest (according to value) export, with charcoal ranking ninth and (pine) mushrooms ranking eighteenth. 

Yonhap offered a short blurb: 

Trade between South and North Korea declined 8.5 percent on-year in 2009 due mainly to the worldwide economic slowdown that sapped demand and investments, a government report said Monday.

The Korea Customs Service (KCS) said inter-Korean trade reached US$1.66 billion last year, down from a record high of $1.82 billion tallied for 2008.

Read the full article here:
Inter-Korean trade falls off 8.5 pct in 2009


DPRK won exchange rates falling after currency reform

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No.10-01-18-1

Following the currency reform undertaken by North Korea at the end of 2009, the Chinese newspaper International Herald Leader (國際先驅導報) reported on January 7 that the Choson Bank of Trade had set the USD:DPRK Won exchange rate at 1:96.9. There have been other reports of the DPRK’s new exchange rate through organizations related to North Korea, but this is the first report of an official exchange rate by an official Chinese media source. The International Herald Leader is the global news paper of the government-run Xinhua news agency.

Good Friends, a South Korea-based organization working for human rights in the North, had reported earlier that the new exchange rate was 1 USD:35 Won. The conflicting reports appear to be a result of a constantly changing exchange rate. North Korean authorities control the exchange rate, announcing changes to the exchange rate system at their whim.

According to the International Herald Leader, the exchange rates for the new DPRK Won are 96.9:1 USD, 138.35:1 Euro and 14.19:1 Chinese Yuan. These new rates are approximately 25-30 percent lower than previous rates, indicating a rise in the value of the DPRK Won.

North Korean security forces released a notice titled ‘Regarding the Strict Punishment of Those Overissuing Foreign Currency Within the Republic’ on December 28, and banned the use of foreign currency across the country beginning January 1. Immediately following the announcement of the measure banning the use of foreign currency, the DPRK Won:PRC Yuan exchange rate rose sharply, indicating a steep drop in the value of the Won.

Until the December 28 announcement banning foreign currency, North Koreans were exchanging Chinese money for the new DPRK Won at a rate of 1:5 (the official rate was 1:1.6). Before the currency reform, the Won:Yuan exchange rate was 600:1. However, after the ban on foreign currency, the value of the new North Korean money quickly fell, with the exchange rate toppling 4-5 times over within just days. According to a Daily NK report, on January 5 of this year, the Won:Yuan exchange rate in Hyesan, Yanggang Province hit 20:1, while in North Hamgyeong Province’s cities and towns of Hoeryeong, Onseong, Musan, and Cheongjin, the Won is being exchanged for Yuan at a rate of 1:15. Therefore, it appears that the Chinese media’s report of a 1:14.19 exchange rate reflects the reality of only some regions of North Korea.


DPRK accepts RoK food offer

Friday, January 15th, 2010

According to Yonhap (1/15/2009):

North Korea told South Korea on Friday that it will accept the 10,000 tons of corn aid that South Korea offered in October, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said.

North Korea sent a fax message to the South, saying it “will receive the corn aid,” said ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-joo.