Archive for the ‘National Resources Development Council’ Category

Office 38 reportedly back in business–and other changes

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

UPDATE 4 (2/20/2011): Kim Tong-un (김동은) named Kim Jong-il’s fund manager.  According to Yonhap:

A senior official of North Korea’s ruling party has been named to lead a special party bureau, code-named Office 38, that oversees coffers and raises slush funds for its leader Kim Jong-il and the ruling elites, a source on North Korea said Sunday.

Kim Tong-un, formerly head of Office 39 in the Workers’ Party of Korea, assumed the post in May last year, when North Korea revived Office 38, which was merged with Office 39 in 2009, the source said on condition of anonymity. Office 39 is believed to be another organ that governs a wide network of business operations both legal and illegal.

Both Offices 38 and 39 belong to the Secretariat of the Workers’ Party, which Kim Jong-il chairs, according to a diagram of the North’s power structure released by the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs. Last year, the ministry had only included Office 39 in a similar diagram.

In a meeting with reporters last week, a ministry official said Office 38 has been spun off from Office 39 and is now running on its own again. The official, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity citing the sensitive nature of his comments, described “a stream of information” that has come through since mid-2010.

Office 38 mainly oversees transactions involving foreign currency, hotels and trade, the official said, while Office 39, headed by Jon Il-chun, drives revenue by dealing in narcotics, arms, natural resources and others.

The North’s revival of Office 38 is interpreted as an effort to cover the increasing cost of leader Kim Jong-il’s ceding of power to his youngest son, Jong-un.

The story was also reported in Yonhap.

UPDATE 3: Here are links to the Ministry of Unification‘s English language organization charts of the North Korean leadership in which some of the changes mentioned below are listed (though not all): Workers’ Party, State Organs, Parties and Organizations

UPDATE (2/15/2011): According to the Daily NK:

The number of Special Departments under the Secretariat of the Chosun Workers’ Party has been increased from 18 to 20, a move that includes the revival of the No. 38 Department, which previously served as Kim Jong Il’s private bank vault, and the foundation of a film department.

The Ministry of Unification revealed the news yesterday in its 2011 North Korean Power Structure and Index of Figures, Agencies and Organizations. It incorporates North Korean changes from December, 2009 up to the present day, completed after consultation with relevant agencies and experts.

The revival of the No. 38 Department and founding of a film department

The report states, “The No. 38 Department, which was merged with the No. 39 Department in 2009, was spun off again last year. Kang Neung Su, who was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in June of 2010, was introduced as head of the film department at the same time. The exact foundation date of the film department is unknown; however, it appears to be newly established.”

No. 38 and No. 39 Departments are directly controlled by Kim Jong Il and serve as a private vault for his ruling funds. The No. 38 Department manages hotels, foreign currency stores and restaurants etc, while illegal weapons trading through foreign trade companies, the smuggling of gold, illegal trade in drugs and the distribution of counterfeit dollars, so-called supernotes, are handled by the No. 39 Department.

“They combined two offices which had different functions, and it appears that this did not result in the intended efficiency,” a knowledgeable source commented.

Meanwhile, on the establishment of a film department, the source added, “North Korea’s cultural art is a political means by which to carry out Party policy and a policy tool to implant policy in the North Korean citizens.”

Among the reshuffled special departments, the existing ‘Munitions Industry Department’ has been renamed the ‘Machine Industry Department’, and the ‘Administration and Capital Construction Department’ has been scaled back to simply ‘Administration Department’.

Elsewhere, the existing National Resources Development and Guidance Department under the Ministry of Extractive Industries has been promoted to National Resources Development Council and, as reported, the Joint Investment Guidance Department rose to become the Joint Investment Committee, while the National Price Establishment Department became the National Price Establishment Committee. Again, as reported, the ‘People’s Safety Agency’ under the Cabinet became the People’s Safety Ministry under the National Defense Commission, while the Capital Construction Department was downsized to become the General Bureau of Capital Construction.

The Central Court and Central Prosecutors Office were also renamed the Supreme Court and Supreme Prosecutors Office respectively.

The Ministry of Unification report also notes that North Korea added Nampo City to its list of eleven cities and provinces, increasing the total number to twelve.

The newly designated Nampo City includes five former parts of South Pyongan Province; Gangseo, Daean, Oncheon, Yonggang, and Chollima districts. Previously, Nampo was under the direct control of the central government as part of South Pyongan Province proper.

At the same time, North Korea also transferred the existing Kangnam-gun, Joonghwa-gun, Sangwon-gun, and Seungho-district, all formerly southern sections of Pyongyang City, to North Hwanghae Province.

Military Commission placed under the Central Committee of the Party

The relationship of the Central Committee and Central Military Commission, which was formerly said to be in parallel, has been changed, reflecting the idea that the Military Commission is now under the Central Committee of the Party.

The Ministry of Unification commented, “By revising the Party regulations, the Central Military Commission and Central Committee were marked as parallel in 2009 and 2010. However, after confirming the revised Party regulations at the Chosun Workers’ Party Delegates’ Conference on September 28th last year, this relationship was adjusted, and an election is now held for the Central Military Commission via a plenary session of the Central Committee.”

Also, the ‘Bureau of General Staff’ under the National Defense Commission was judged to be below the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces, but is now shown to be in a parallel relationship with the Ministry of the People’s Armed Force and ‘General Political Department’.

ORIGINAL POST (2/14/2011): According to Yonhap:

North Korea has revived a special party bureau, codenamed Office 38, that oversees coffers and raises slush funds for its leader Kim Jong-il and the ruling elites, South Korea said Monday in its annual assessment of the power structure in the communist country.

In 2009, the bureau had been merged with Office 39, another organ that governs a wide network of business operations both legal and illegal, according to the Unification Ministry in Seoul.

In a meeting with reporters, however, a ministry official said Office 38 has been spun off from Office 39 and is now running on its own again. The official, who would speak only on the condition of anonymity citing the intelligence nature of his comments, cited “a stream of information” that has come through since mid-2010.

The official would not elaborate on how the information has been obtained, only saying the ministry works closely with “related government bodies” to outline the North’s power structure.

Office 38, whose chief remains unknown, mainly oversees transactions involving foreign currency, hotels and trade, the official said, while Office 39, headed by Jon Il-chun, drives revenue by dealing in narcotics, arms, natural resources and others.

A source privy to North Korea matters said the spin-off suggests that North Korea has been experiencing difficulties in earning foreign currency since merging the two offices.

“Efficiency was probably compromised after the two, which have different functions, were combined,” the source said, declining to be identified citing the speculative nature of the topic. “More importantly, it seems related to the current state of foreign currency stocks. The North is apparently trying to address those difficulties.”

In August last year, the United States blacklisted Office 39 as one of several North Korean entities to newly come under sanctions for involvement in illegal deeds such as currency counterfeiting.

North Korea is also believed to have been hit hard financially after South Korea imposed a series of economic penalties last year on Pyongyang when the sinking of a warship was blamed on it.

Both Offices 38 and 39 belong to the Secretariat of the Workers’ Party, which Kim Jong-il chairs, according to a diagram of the North’s power structure released by the Unification Ministry. Last year, the ministry had only included Office 39 in a similar diagram.

Both offices have often been referred to as Kim Jong-il’s “personal safes” for their role in raising and managing secret funds and procuring luxury goods for the aging leader.

Read the full story here:
North Korea Splits No. 38 and 39 Departments Up Again
Daily NK
Kim So Yeol
2/15/2011

N. Korea revives ‘Office 38′ managing Kim Jong-il’s funds: ministry
Yonhap
Sam Kim
2/14/2011

Share

DPRK elevates status of national resource development office

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 10-12-22
12/22/2010

On December 1, the North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly Standing Committee announced an order to elevate the position of the National Resource Development Office, which is overseen by the Cabinet’s Ministry of Extractive Industry, to the Ministry of National Resource Development. According to the Korea Central News Agency, this measure is aimed at increasing development and export of underground resources as international sanctions against the North further limit Pyongyang’s access to foreign capital.

The regime’s focus on increasing earnings can be seen in Kim Jong Il’s on-site guidance trips, as well. The KCNA reported on December 3 that Kim had recently visited Danchon, South Hamgyong Province, touring the Danchon Magnesia Factory, the Danchon Mining Equipment Factory, and the Danchon Port facilities. During his visit to the magnesia factory, Kim Jong Il emphasized the need for increasing the production of quality asphalt. In addition, after receiving a report on the status of implementation of CNC in the Danchon Mining Equipment Factory, he stated, “The factory needs to normalize at a high level of mass production to turn out the necessary numbers of mining and processing equipment.” Upon reviewing the Danchon Port facilities, Kim Jong Il urged staff to work towards ensuring a loud chorus of boat whistles in the port for the upcoming 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung in 2012.

U.S. financial sanctions levied against the North have made it difficult for Pyongyang to collect export earnings from its mining efforts, one of its key earners of foreign capital. In May of last year, when sanctions were strengthened in response to North Korea’s second nuclear test, European and even Chinese banks froze money transfers to North Korea. The [North] Korea Magnesia Clinker Manufacturing Group could not collect 4.6 million USD in earnings from the export of zinc to Europe. It appears that the North has tried to compensate for these losses by increasing the export of iron ore from Musan. Exports to China passing through the Musan customs office have more than doubled, rising from 1200 to 2500 tons per day.

The mines of Musan, holding more than seven billion tons of iron ore, are the North’s primary vehicle for earning foreign capital. In 2004, China’s Tonghua Steel and Iron Group signed a contract with North Korean authorities granting the group 50-year development rights at some key North Korean mines, and is planning to invest seven billion Yuan in developing the sites. Beijing plans to use the access to North Korean mines to meet some of the expected 80 million ton shortfall of iron ore in 2010. However, there are rumors that North Korea has canceled the contract with no explanation, causing much speculation about the direction of Pyongyang’s export strategy.

Share

Successes Made in Physical Prospecting

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

KCNA
3/27/2007

The Central Physical Prospecting Group under the State Bureau of Natural Resources Development is successfully carrying on the survey of underground resources by advanced physical prospecting methods, thus greatly contributing to the economic progress of the country and the land construction. Recently, the prospecting group has introduced the advanced methods in the geological survey and developed modern facilities to explore a new phase for surveying the underground resources. 

The prospecting group, founded in January Juche 46 (1957), has already registered great achievements in the survey of underground resources and the land development. 

Over the last five decades, it has powerfully propelled the development of the national economy with its successful survey of valuable raw materials and fuel resources and greatly contributed to the geological development and the land development in the country with scientific geological survey and the confirmation of the geological foundation. 

It has found out many geological layers and systematized their formation periods and geological composition in a well-arranged way.

They, on the basis of their success, have discovered the law on the distribution of valuable minerals and surveyed and registered scores kinds of minerals, several hundreds of mineral deposits, thousands of mineral bodies and outcrops, and a thousand and several hundreds of heavy mineral streams and metal diffusion zones.

They have achieved many successes not only in the prospecting of abundant iron ore, coal resources and the new graphite deposits but also in the confirmation of the amounts for nonferrous metals, rare metallic mineral resources, nonmetallic mineral resources and magnesite mineral resources. 

The survey of groundwater, hot springs, subterranean heat and the foundations of many construction projects including the Kumsong dam and the Samsu Power Station dam are associated with the efforts of the Central Physical Prospecting Group.

Share

Brisk Geological Prospecting

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

KCNA
2/6/2007

Great efforts are being directed to the geological prospecting in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The State Bureau for Direction of Natural Resources Development has recently dispatched geological experts, IT technicians and prospectors to the areas of Komdok and Kapsan to find out more nonferrous metal ore resources. 

While concentrating forces on the survey of the foundations of major construction objects, the bureau is pushing ahead with the work of finding out more reserve coal and ore mines with abundant deposits and securing the sites for detailed prospecting.  

The South Hwanghae Provincial Geological Prospecting Administration Bureau has surveyed the ingredients of sand in western coast areas in detail and secured quality sand resources available for hundreds of years. 

The South Phyongan and North Hamgyong Provincial Geological Prospecting Administration Bureaus also found out more anthracite and bituminous coal fields in western and northern areas.

Geological corps under the North and South Hwanghae, Jagang and Kangwon Provincial Geological Prospecting Administration Bureaus have intensified geological prospecting work in their provinces, thus opening up a bright vista for excavating larger amount of non-ferrous metal ore.

The South Hamgyong Provincial Geological Prospecting Administration Bureau has completed in a short span of time the foundation survey and designing for major projects of national significance, and the Sumun and Paekam Geological Prospecting Corps under the Ryanggang Provincial Geological Prospecting Administration Bureau have also registered successes in the survey work for the construction of the Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station and other projects.

Share