Archive for the ‘EU’ Category

European business leaders tour Kaesong Industrial Complex

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

More than 40 European businessmen in South Korea traveled across the heavily fortified border into North Korea on Tuesday for a rare trip to an inter-Korean factory park amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a unification ministry official said.

A 42-member delegation of the Korean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Seoul plan to tour facilities and South Korean factories in the North’s western border city of Kaesong before returning home later in the day, the official said.

The delegation includes officials of the German engineering giant Siemens AG and BMW, a premium German automaker. It also includes Swiss nationals and Austrians, according to the official.

Separately, about 40 South Korean business leaders from around the world also plan to visit the factory park in Kaesong on Friday, according to the unification ministry official.

In December, about two dozen officials from the world’s G-20 economies toured the Kaesong complex on the sidelines of their global financial meeting in Seoul.

The sprawling enclave in Kaesong is home to 120 small South Korean plants producing garments and other labor-intensive goods. More than 44,000 North Koreans work in the complex.

Read the full story here:
European businessmen visit inter-Korean factory park in N. Korea
Yonhap
2014-4-29

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Handicap International earmarks $1.12 million in DPRK aid

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

According to Yonhap:

The Belgium branch of Handicap International earmarked $1.12 million for this year to support medical and rehabilitation facilities in the communist country to promote the health and well-being of the disabled there, the Voice of America (VOA) reported, citing an e-mail from the agency’s official Dominique Delvigne.

The budget is also to be spent for such projects as nurturing teachers in charge of special education for visually- and hearing-impaired people, and assisting the (North) Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled (KFPD), the official added.

The NGO, established in 1982 to help disabled and vulnerable people in situations of poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster, began to help physically challenged people in North Korea in 1998 at the request of the KFPD.

According to the report on disability published by the World Health Organization in 2013, some 3.4 percent of the population in North Korea suffered from a disability as of 2007.

Read the full story here:
Belgium-based NGO to spend US$1.1 mln in 2014 for disabled N. Koreans
Yonhap
2014-3-19

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DPRK Restaurant opens/closes/opens in the Netherlands

Monday, January 27th, 2014

UPDATE 2 (2014-1-27): The North Korean restaurant has re-opened in Amsterdam. According to NK News:

While the Pyongyang Restaurant [See Below] shut down the same year as it opened – allegedly due to a dispute between the Dutch owner Remco Van Daal and its North Korean staff – the Haedongwha staff will now be managed in cooperation with an ethnic Korean manager named John Kim.

Kim, who has lived in the Netherlands for most of his life, also runs a business in Pyongyang exporting sand to Singapore, a source familiar with his background told NK News.

Unlike Haedangwha restaurants in China, which are run directly by the North Korean government, the Netherlands branch is unique in having non-North Korean ownership but a North Korean staff.

You can read more about the restaurant in Het Parool.

Michael Madden tracked down the location.

Here is the official web page of the restaurant.

Learn more about the “other” Haedanghwa here.

UPDATE 1 (2012-9-6): The restaurant has closed. According to the Associated Press:

A North Korean restaurant in Amsterdam staffed by cooks and waitresses from the isolated country has closed its doors.

Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported Thursday that Pyongyang Restaurant’s closure was permanent and stemmed from a disagreement between its Dutch owners and North Korean staff.

The restaurant was an oddity, believed to be the only of its kind in Western Europe, though there are similar restaurants in Asia. Dutch labor authorities say North Koreans can get work visas for Europe under standard rules, but few do.

A woman who answered the phone at the restaurant said the establishment was closed. She couldn’t say for how long because she was not authorized to do so. Its website says it is closed “due to holidays.” Phone calls to the owner Thursday went unanswered.

See more here at North Korea Leadership Watch.

ORIGINAL POST (2012-2-5): According to Yonhap:

A North Korean restaurant has opened in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam in what could be the communist nation’s latest attempt to earn hard currency and foster closer ties with Europe.

The “Pyongyang Restaurant” was launched late last month under a joint venture between North Korea and two Dutch businessmen. While North Korea is known to operate dozens of restaurants across Asia, it is the first time a North Korean restaurant has opened in Europe, with the exception of a canteen that briefly operated near the North Korean Embassy in Vienna in the mid-1990′s, according to a local source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The restaurant is staffed by nine North Koreans, including the director and manager, Han Myong-hee, who worked for 15 years at a North Korean restaurant in Beijing operated by the North’s ruling Workers’ Party.

Pyongyang Restaurant, which seats 24 people, has its walls covered with pictures of Pyongyang and North Korean nature, while its menu consists solely of a nine-course meal priced at 79 euros (US$104).

Han said there are plans to offer more affordable dishes such as Korean noodles and dumplings after the restaurant’s official opening on Feb. 17.

“After our official launch, we plan to gradually serve a variety of dishes and during lunch hours as well,” she said. The restaurant currently serves only dinner.

The opening ceremony is expected to be attended by the North Korean ambassador to Switzerland, other North Koreans, and key figures from the Netherlands and different European nations, Han said.

Analysts said the restaurant is likely to serve not only as a source of much-needed cash but also as a bridge to Europe for the isolated North.

“North Korea has been putting a lot of effort into normalizing relations with European nations since 2000,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “The opening of North Korea’s first restaurant in Europe can be seen as the North’s attempt to improve ties with the West through exchanges at the civilian level.”

Read the full story here:
N. Korean restaurant opens in Netherlands
Yonhap
2012-2-5

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Changes in DPRK – EU trade patterns over 2011-2012

Monday, October 7th, 2013

According to the Daily NK:

International sanctions against North Korea are leading to declining bilateral trade volumes with the European Union (EU), it has been revealed.

“The total amount of trade between North Korea and the EU in 2012 fell 40%, from 159,000,000 Euros in 2011 to 92,000,000 Euros in 2012,” Voice of America reported yesterday, citing the latest trade statistics from the European Commission.

The root of the decline lies in exports from North Korea; in other words, Pyongyang’s exports to the EU decreased dramatically, and this led to an overall decrease in bilateral trade.

North Korean imports from the EU last year amounted to 73,000,000 Euros, a 60% increase from the previous year. However, exports in the same period were only worth 19,000,000 Euros, not even 1/5 of the previous year’s 116,000,000 Euros.

A report released by the Korean International Trade association last month yielded a similar outcome, concluding that trade between North Korea and the EU in the first five months of 2013 was on a declining curve, being worth just 12,500,000 Euros, a 77% decrease over the same period of 2012.

The EU also reported that North Korea’s foreign trade last year was worth 690,000,000 Euros overall. North Korea’s biggest trade partner was China, with 470,000,000 Euros, 68% of total foreign trade.

North Korea’s other major trade partners in 2012 India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Saudi Arabia, and the Dominican Republic.

Read the full story here:
North Losing Out in European Market
Daily NK
Yang Jung A
2013-10-7

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EU trade with DPRK falls

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

According to Yonhap:

Trade volume between North Korea and the European Union (EU) more than halved last year from a year earlier after the North sharply cut exports of mineral resources, a news report said Friday.

The trade volume between the two sides came to 69 million euros (US$90.2 million) in 2012, only 43.4 percent of the 159 million euros recorded the previous year, the Washington-based Voice of America (VOA) reported, citing EU data.

The dive came as the North’s total exports to the EU shrank to 24 million euros last year from 117 million euros the previous year, according to the VOA report.

The communist country exported only 3 million euros worth of mineral resources, the main export item, to EU countries in 2012, compared with 71 million in 2011, it said.

North Korea’s imports from EU countries, meanwhile, rose 7.1 percent on-year to 45 million euros last year, led by brisk imports of machinery and electronics goods, according to the report.

Read the full story here:
N. Korea’s trade with EU halves in 2012
Yonhap
2013-5-3

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Noland DPRK trade statistics compendium (2012)

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

This fall Marcus Noland has posted three blog entries which feature DPRK trade statistics with China, the European Union, and Russia. I have put the graphs from these posts here as both an archive and as a quick reference for myself. See Dr. Noland’s original posts (linked above) for his analysis.

Chinese Luxury Goods Exports to the DPRK (Published 2012-9-17):

European luxury exports to North Korea (Published 2012-10-18):

Russian luxury good exports to North Korea (Published 2012-11-14):

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DPRK 2011 food shortage debate compendium

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

UPDATE (2012-2-1): Karin Lee of the National Committee on North Korea wrote a great summary of the DPRK’s food situation in 2011:

In December 2010, North Korea began asking multiple countries for food aid. Its request to the U.S. came in early 2011, but it wasn’t until December 2011 that a deal seemed close, with the U.S. prepared to provide 240,000 metric tons (MTs) of assistance. Kim Jong Il died soon after this news hit the press, and details of the potential deal were never announced.

In the ideal world, Ronald Reagan’s “hungry child” knows no politics. But the case of North Korea is far from ideal. The U.S. government states it does not take politics into consideration when determining whether to provide aid to North Korea. Instead, the decision is based on three criteria: need in North Korea, competing demands for assistance, and the ability to monitor aid effectively. Yet these three criteria are subjective and tinged by politics.

In 2011 a succession of four assessment delegations (one by U.S. NGOs, one by the U.S. government, one by the EU and one by the UN) visited the DPRK. All found pretty much the same thing: widespread chronic malnutrition, especially among children and pregnant or lactating women, and cases of acute malnutrition. The UN confirmed the findings late last year, reporting chronic malnutrition in children under five in the areas visited — 33% overall, and 45% in the northern part of the country.

Some donors responded quickly. For example, shortly after its July assessment, the EU announced a 10 Million Euro donation. Following its own May assessment, however, the U.S. government was slow to make a commitment. Competing demands may have played a role. In July, the predicted famine in the Horn of Africa emerged, prompting a U.S. response of over $668 million in aid to “the worst food crisis in half a century.” While there was no public linkage between U.S. action on the African famine and inaction on North Korea, there could have been an impact.

But the two biggest factors shaping the U.S. government’s indecisiveness continued to be uncertainty about both the severity of the need and the ability to establish an adequate monitoring regime. At times, South Korean private and public actors questioned the extent of the North’s need. Early on, a lawmaker in South Korea asserted that North Korea already had stockpiled 1,000,000 metric tons of rice for its military. Human rights activist Ha Tae Keung argued that North Korea would use the aid contributed in 2011 to augment food distributions in 2012 in celebration of the 100th birthday of Kim Il Sung and North Korea’s status as a “strong and prosperous nation.” According to Yonhap, shortly after the U.N. released the above-noted figures, South Korean Unification Minister Yu Woo-Ik called the food situation in North Korea not “very serious.”

South Korea’s ambivalence about the extent of the food crisis was noted by Capitol Hill, exacerbating congressional reluctance to support food aid. A letter to Secretary Clinton sent shortly before the U.S. assessment trip in May began with Senators Lieberman, McCain, Webb and Kyl explaining they shared South Korean government suspicions that food aid would be stockpiled and requesting State to “rigorously” evaluate any DPRK request for aid. With the close ROK-U.S. relationship one of the administration’s most notable foreign policy accomplishments, such a warning may have carried some weight.

Monitoring is of equal, if not greater congressional concern. Since the 1990s U.S. NGOs and USAID have worked hard with DPRK counterparts to expand monitoring protocols, and conditions have consistently improved over time. In the 2008/2009 program, the first food program funded by the U.S. government since 2000, the DPRK agreed to provisions such as Korean-speaking monitors. The NGO portion of the program was fairly successful in implementing the monitoring protocol; when implementation of the WFP portion hit some bumps, USAID suspended shipments to WFP until issues could be resolved. The DPRK ended the program prematurely in March 2009 with 330,000 MT remaining.

In 2011 the Network for North Korean Human Rights and Democracy conducted a survey of recent defectors to examine “aid effectiveness” in the current era. Out of the 500 interviewees, 274 left the DPRK after 2010. However, only six were from provinces where NGOs had distributed aid in 2008/2009. Disturbingly, of the 106 people interviewees who had knowingly received food aid, 29 reported being forced to return food. Yet the report doesn’t state their home towns, or when the events took place. Unfortunately such incomplete data proves neither the effectiveness nor ineffectiveness of the most recent monitoring regime.

Some believe that adequate monitoring is impossible. The House version of the 2012 Agricultural Appropriations Act included an amendment prohibiting the use of Food for Peace or Title II funding for food aid to North Korea; the amendment was premised on this belief. However the final language signed into law in November called for “adequate monitoring,” not a prohibition on funding.

The U.S. response, nine months in the making, reflects the doubts outlined above and the politically challenging task of addressing them. It took months for the two governments to engage in substantive discussions on monitoring after the May trip. In December, the State Department called the promised nutritional assistance “easier to monitor” because items such as highly fortified foods and nutritional supplements are supposedly less desirable and therefore less likely to be diverted than rice. The reported offer of 240,000 MT– less than the 330,000 MT the DPRK requested – reflects the unconfirmed report that the U.S. identified vulnerable populations but not widespread disaster.

In early January, the DPRK responded. Rather than accepting the assistance that was under discussion, it called on the United States to provide rice and for the full amount, concluding “We will watch if the U.S. truly wants to build confidence.” While this statement has been interpreted positively by some as sign of the new Kim Jong Un regime’s willingness to talk, it also demonstrates a pervasive form of politicization – linkage. A “diplomatic source” in Seoul said the December decision on nutritional assistance was linked to a North Korean pledge to suspend its uranium enrichment program. Linkage can be difficult to avoid, and the long decision-making process in 2011 may have exacerbated the challenge. Although Special Representative Glyn Davies was quick to state that “there isn’t any linkage” between the discussion of nutritional assistance and dialogue on security issues, he acknowledged that the ability of the DPRK and US to work together cooperatively on food assistance would be interpreted as a signal regarding security issues. Meanwhile, the hungry child in North Korea is still hungry.

UPDATE 75 (2011-12-5): The ROK will donate US$5.65 million to N. Korea through the UN. According to Yonhap:

South Korea said Monday it will donate US$5.65 million (about 6.5 billion won) for humanitarian projects in North Korea through the U.N. body responsible for the rights of children.

The donation to the United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, will benefit about 1.46 million infants, children and pregnant women in North Korea, according to the Unification Ministry, which is in charge of relations with the North.

Seoul’s contribution will be used to provide vaccines and other medical supplies as well as to treat malnourished children next year, said the ministry.

There have been concerns that a third of all North Korean children under five are chronically malnourished and that many more children are at risk of slipping into acute stages of malnutrition unless targeted assistance is sustained.

“The decision is in line with the government’s basic stance of maintaining its pure humanitarian aid projects for vulnerable people regardless of political situation,” Unification Ministry spokesman Choi Boh-seon told reporters.

South Korea has been seeking flexibility in its policies toward the North to try to improve their strained relations over the North’s two deadly attacks on the South last year.

Despite the South’s softer stance, North Korea recently threatened to turn Seoul’s presidential office into “a sea of fire” in response to South Korea’s military maneuvers near the tense western sea border.

South Korea donated $20 million for humanitarian projects in North Korea through the UNICEF between 1996 and 2009.

Last month, the South also resumed some $6.94 million worth of medical aid to the impoverished communist country through the World Health Organization.

Separately, South Korea also decided to give 2.7 billion won ($2.3 million) to a foundation to help build emergency medical facilities in an industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

UPDATE 74 (2011-12-2): The Choson Ilbo reports that the DPRK’s food prices are rising after the 2011 fall harvest, however, the price increase is not due to a shortage of output, but rather political directives. According to the article:

The price of rice in North Korea is skyrocketing, contrary to received wisdom that it drops after the harvest season. According to a source on North Korea on Wednesday, the rice price has risen from 2,400 won a kg in early October to 5,000 won in late November.

North Korean workers earn only 3,000-4,000 won per month.

This unusual hike in rice price seems to be related to preparation of next year’s political propaganda projects.

A South Korean government official said, “It seems the North Korean government is not releasing rice harvested this year in order to save it up” for celebrations of regime founder Kim Il-sung’s centenary next year, when the North has vowed to become “a powerful and prosperous nation.”

UPDATE 73 (2011-11-24): According to the Daily NK, DPRK television is calling on people to conserve food:

With barely a month left until 2012, the year in which people were promised a radical lifestyle transformation to coincide with the North Korea’s rebirth as a ‘strong and prosperous nation’, programs calling upon people to conserve food are now being broadcast by Chosun Central TV and the fixed-line cable broadcaster ‘3rd Broadcast’.

Chosun Central TV is broadcasting the programs as part of ‘Socio-Culture and Lifestyle Time’, which begins directly after the news on Thursdays at 8:40pm. The majority of the content is apparently now about saving food.

A Yangkang Province source told The Daily NK on Wednesday, “Recently the head lecturer from Jang Cheol Gu Pyongyang Commercial University, Dr. Seo Young Il, has been appearing on the program both on television and the cable broadcasting system, talking about saving food.”

In one such program, Professor Seo apparently noted, “In these days of the military-first era there is a new culture blossoming, one which calls for a varied diet,” before encouraging citizens to eat potatoes and rice, wild vegetables and rice and kimchi and rice rather than white rice on its own, and then adding that bread and wheat flour noodles are better than rice for lunch and dinner.

It is understood that older programs with titles such as ‘A Balanced Diet is Excellent Preparation for Saving Food’ and ‘Cereals with Rice: Good for Your Health’ are also being rebroadcast, while watchers are being informed that thinking meat is required for a good diet is ‘incorrect’.

Whenever North Korea is on high alert or there is a directive to be handed down from Kim Jong Il, both of Chosun Central TV and the 3rd Broadcast are used to communicate with the public. For this reason, some North Korea watchers believe the recent food-saving campaign may reflect a particularly weak food situation in the country going into the winter.

According to the source, one recent program showed a cookery competition involving members of the Union of Democratic Women from Pyongyang’s Moranbong District. During which, one woman was filmed extolling the virtues of potato soup, saying “If we follow the words of The General and try eating potatoes as a staple food, there will be no problem.”

Read all previous posts on the DPRK’s food situation this year blow:

(more…)

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Millions under threat as hunger stalks North Korea, says visitor

Thursday, August 4th, 2011

By Michael Rank

North Korea’s orphanages are full of malnourished children and food shortages in the isolated nation look set to get much worse, said a recent visitor who knows the country well.

Former member of the European Parliament Glyn Ford said shortages of food were affecting “tens of thousands of children, not just orphans, and there may be millions of people under threat of malnutrition” in North Korea.

Ford visited two orphanages in Hamhŭng (Hamheung), the country’s second largest city, where he was shown children who were extremely thin and clearly malnourished, and this had been confirmed by a European Union aid team. Each orphanage had about 300 children.

Ford said he had been encouraged by an EU pledge last month to provide emergency food aid worth 10 million euros ($14.3 million) to more than half a million people at risk of dying from serious malnutrition in North Korea, and that France and Germany had since added to this, making the assistance worth 14-16 million euros ($20-$22.8 million).

But at one of the orphanages he was told they had run out of EU food in June, and the children were suffering as a result.

The European Commission said the objective of the aid package was to lift around 650,000 people, mainly in northern and eastern provinces of the country, out of the hunger zone during the most difficult period of the worst year for food production in recent times. Food assistance will reach children under five who have already been hospitalised with severe acute malnutrition. Children in residential care will also be fed, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, hospital patients and the elderly.

An EU mission found in June that state-distributed food rations, upon which two thirds of the North Korean population depend, had been severely cut in recent months from 400g of cereals per person per day in early April to 150g in June: less than 400kCal – a fifth of the daily average nutritional requirement and equivalent to a small bowl of rice.

Ford told NKEW in a telephone interview that while there were clear signs of widespread hunger there was no sign, so far at least, of mass starvation, as happened in the 1990s, when hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of people died.

He also said that despite the food shortages there were also signs that economic reforms of recent years were having a strong impact, and that in all populated areas roads were lined with rows of private stalls. “These blue plastic stalls are everywhere,” Ford said, adding that they were giving rise to

“kiosk capitalists” who were bucking the traditional, Stalinist economic system.

“This is a society where there are rich North Koreans. There are new cars and expensive consumer items in the shops. There is an economic elite rather than a Party elite,” he added.

Ford also visited the Kaesong (Gaeseong) Industrial Complex just north of the Demilitarised Zone, which he said consisted of large areas of waste land where plans for expansion had come to nought due to increased tension between North and South Korea.

The complex looked “a little bit sad”, he said, and the optimism that prevailed when he last visited it two or three years had dissipated. He said the zone continued to employ about 45,000 North Koreans, little changed from his previous visit, and hopes that it would employ 400,000 by 2015 now seemed highly unrealistic. “It was new then but the shining glow has gone off a bit,” he said, adding, “I noticed the gaps between the factories more than the factories themselves.” (Ford cited a goal of 400,000 workers eventually employed in the zone, but in 2006 a target of 700,000 was mentioned on the BBC’s Newsnight programme).

The complex, in operation since 2004, has around 120 factories, all South Korean-run, processing food and assembling clothing and machinery for export to the South.

Ford also said it seemed likely that the North Korea would open an embassy to the EU in Brussels before long, with a reciprocal EU embassy in Pyongyang. Although Pyongyang and the EU established diplomatic relations in 2001, embassies have not been opened due to French resistance, as France and Estonia are the only EU countries that do not have full diplomatic ties with North Korea.

France has cited human rights violations in its refusal to open an embassy in North Korea, but it has recently softened its line and has announced plans to open a “cooperation bureau” in Pyongyang. Ford said North Korea had long wanted to set up an embassy in Brussels and this now finally seemed likely, possibly by the middle of next year.

Ford, a British Labour Party MEP until 2009, spent about 12 days in North Korea, returning last Saturday. He has almost certainly visited North Korea more often than any other western politician, having been almost 20 times over the last 15-16 years. He was a member of the European Parliament’s Korean Peninsula delegation and in 2008 has published a book, North Korea on the Brink: Struggle for Survival.

Addendum: In January 2009 Ford hosted the first ever delegation from the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) delegation to visit Britain, when he pressed them to agree to reopen the dialogue that was  broken off in 2005.

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EU restrictions on Air Koryo

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

According to the Korea Herald (4/26/2011): The EU has announced it is maintaining the policy established last year.

Antiquated North Korean airliners have been banned from operating in European countries for six years in a row as part of the European Union’s prohibition on 21 states that have failed to meet its safety standards, a U.S.-funded private radio station reported Tuesday.

Under the EU ban, Pyong­yang’s Air Koryo can only fly two new airliners it purchased from Russia last year to the E.U. member states, according to Radio Free Asia.

Read the full story here:
EU prohibits N. Korea’s aged planes for six years
Korea Herald
4/26/2011

According to the Daily NK (3/31/2010): Recently purchased Tupolev’s allowed to fly to EU.

Air Koryo, North Korea’s flag carrier, has been given back partial permission to fly in EU airspace following the quarterly update to the EU’s list of banned airlines.

The lifting of restrictions against the airline is highly conditional, only allowing for entry by two of the airlines’ mostly Soviet-era fleet.

According to European Commission press release IP/10/388 which was released yesterday, March 30th;

“With this update, the Air Koryo licensed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, subject to an operating ban since March 2006, is allowed to resume operations into the EU with two aircraft which are fitted with the necessary equipment to comply with mandatory international standards and following appropriate oversight by its authority. The rest of its fleet remains barred from operating into the EU.”

The two aircraft permitted to operate in EU airspace are a Tupolev Tu-204-300 delivered to Air Koryo in 2007 and currently serving on the Pyongyang-Beijing route, and a Tu-204-100B.

European Commission Vice-President Siim Kallas also said in yesterday’s statement, “Safety comes first. We are ready to support countries that need to build up technical and administrative capacity to guarantee the necessary standards in civil aviation. But we cannot accept that airlines fly into the EU if they do not fully comply with international safety standards.”

It is unclear whether Air Koryo plans to exercise its right to enter the EU, though there have been rumors that it plans to begin some kind of service between Pyongyang and Berlin.

Read the full article here:
Two Air Koryo Jets Back in EU Good Books
Daily NK
Chris Green
3/31/2010

According to Yonhap (3/25/2010):

The European Union is expected to relax its four-year ban on the North Korean state carrier, Air Koyro, from all operations in its member states, a source at the European Commission said Wednesday.

Air Koryo has been on the EU’s blacklist of airlines failing to meet international safety standards since the list was first put together in 2006. Currently, five individual carriers, including Air Koryo, and all carriers from 15 countries — 228 companies in total — are on the blacklist.

The EU’s Air Safety Commission met last week to review the list and recommended that the restrictions on the North Korean airline be relaxed to “Annex B,” which means that the carrier can operate in the region under “specific conditions,” the source said.

Air Koryo officials attended last week’s meeting to brief the commission on the safety measures they have taken so far, the source said. It was unclear what conditions would be imposed for Air Koyro if the ban is relaxed.

The Air Safety Commission is an advisory panel without decision-making power, but its recommendations are usually reflected when the blacklist is updated. The list is revised three times a year, with this year’s first update slated for late this month.

Read the full story here:
EU expected to relax ban on N. Korean carrier Air Koryo
Yonhap
3/25/2010

According to Yonhap (1/9/2010):

Air Koryo, North Korea’s air carrier, has been banned from offering flight services to Europe for a fifth year after having failed to meet international safety requirements, U.S. international broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Saturday.

The North Korean carrier has been involved in the list of carriers prohibiting from flying to the 27 members of European Union that was released this year, RFA said.

Air Koryo reportedly has a fleet of about 20 planes made between the 1960s and 1970s in the Soviet Union.

Read the full story here:
N. Korean airline banned from flying to Europe
Yonhap
1/9/2010

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DPRK-EU trade grows in 2010

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

According to KBS:

The Voice of America says that North Korea’s exports to the European Union more than doubled year-on-year in 2010 as the communist country exported petroleum products worth 55 million euros to the Netherlands in the first half of last year.

Quoting data from Eurostat, the statistic agency of the EU, the broadcaster said that North Korea’s exports to the EU surged from 50 million euros in 2009 to over one hundred million euros last year.

However, the North’s imports from the EU inched up only about two million euros from 70 million euros in 2009 to 72 million euros in 2010.

I am pretty swamped at the moment.  I did a quick search for the original data source with no success. If you have any idea where to find it, please let me know.

Read the full story here:
NK’s Exports to EU Doubled in 2010
KBS
3-22-2011

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