Archive for the ‘Energy’ Category

North Korea-China trade grew by almost 40 percent in the first quarter of 2017

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

Reports New York Times

China released the first-quarter trade data just days after President Trump urged its leader, Xi Jinping, to clamp down on trade with North Korea. The two leaders met at Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last week.

With signs indicating that North Korea could be planning a nuclear or missile test as early as Saturday, a United States Navy strike group led by the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson is steaming toward the Korean Peninsula in a show of force. But the Trump administration has indicated that economic pressure — particularly imposed by China, with which North Korea conducts almost 90 percent of its trade — is its preferred form of deterrence.

[…]

The data released on Thursday showed that China’s trade with North Korea grew 37.4 percent in the first quarter of this year from the period in 2016. Chinese exports surged 54.5 percent, and imports increased 18.4 percent, the General Administration of Customs said at a news conference in Beijing.

China buys iron ore, zinc and other minerals from North Korea, as well as growing amounts of seafood and garments manufactured in the North’s well-equipped textile factories. China reported that its imports of North Korean iron were up 270 percent in January and February compared with the period in 2016.

But imports of coal dropped 51.6 percent in the first three months of 2017 compared with the first quarter of last year, said Huang Songping, a spokesman for the customs agency. Coal has been the biggest hard-currency earner among North Korea’s fairly limited menu of exports.

[…]

After the United Nations sanctions were announced, some economists said it was still possible for Chinese businesses to import coal on an off-the-books basis, using transactions that would not be recorded by customs officials.

But since mid-February, Chinese coal traders have said that their business has virtually vanished. “It’s over,” said a coal trader who operates from Dandong, a city on China’s northeastern border that functions as the main center of business with North Korea. The trader spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared reprisals from the city authorities.

Full article:

China Says Its Trade With North Korea Has Increased
Jane Perlez and Yufan Huang
2017-04-13

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Still too early to tell on Chinese imports of North Korean coal

Monday, March 27th, 2017

By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

It is still far too early to say anything of certainty or substance on Chinese compliance on the UN resolution cap of $400 million on coal imports from North Korea. A few figures have come out over the past week that are of interest on the issue. Altogether, the statistics suggest that two parallel processes are at play. While China certainly seems to have imposed the coal ban at least in part to comply with the UN-mandated $400 million import cap, it also continues to shift its consumption to domestic coal in the face of a drive to draw down on coal consumption altogether.

Asย UPI reports, one angle is that China instituted the ban to pre-emptively ensure compliance with the cap, knowing that deliveries early in 2017 would come close:

The official, who spoke to local news service Newsis on the condition of anonymity, said a Chinese decision announced Feb. 18 to suspend all North Korean coal imports included an accounting of “excess” North Korean coal that was delivered to China in late 2016, according to the report.

“China is of the mind to carry over the excess of December [imports] to this year’s upper limit,” the official said.

Resolution 2321 also bans North Korea sales of copper, nickel, silver, zinc and even statues.

China agreed to play a key role in the agreement. All exports of North Korea coal would not exceed $400 million per annum or 7.5 million tons yearly.

In 2017, China has so far imported about $126 million of coal in January and $100 million in February.

While the total number of coal imported appears to be well below the annual quota, when the December data is included China reaches the upper limit of coal restrictions, the South Korean official said.

Full article:
Report: China suspended North Korea coal imports to not exceed quota
Elizabeth Shim
2017-03-23
United Press International

Bloomberg reports the same figures, but give an added context. It is not only coal imports to China from North Korea that have fallen. Those from Australia and Mongolia have dropped, too:

China’s imports of North Korea anthracite coal in February fell 18.7 percent from a year ago to the lowest since January 2015, after a ban on imports as a result of the reclusive nation’s missile program. Imports of anthracite coal, a hard coal with a high energy content used in steel mills, dropped to 1.23 million tonnes in February from 1.45 million tonnes in January, data from the General Administration of Customs released on Thursday.

Waning shipments from North Korea follows Beijing’s decision in late February to ban coal imports entirely after Pyongyang tested an intermediate-range ballistic missile in a direct challenge to international efforts to stabilise the Korean peninsula.

The ban has also sent steel mills who use anthracite as a feed stock to find alternatives in the domestic market. Chinese anthracite prices gained more than 50 yuan($7.26) per tonne to around 780 yuan($113.26) in February, data provided by China Sublime Information Group showed. Imports from China’s top supplier Australia <COA-AUCN-IMP> in February plunged 29 percent from January to 5.16 million tonnes, the lowest since May. Still, Australian imports were 16.8 percent higher than a year ago, the data showed. The decline adds to speculation that China is trying to control coal imports to aid the country’s efforts to reduce overcapacity at domestic mines.

The head of China’s quality supervision agency vowed to crack down on low-quality coal import. Traders in southern Chinese ports also reported cases of cargoes delayed due to customs checks. Coal shipments from Mongolia <COA-MNCN-IMP> tumbled 37 percent from January to 1.97 million tonnes, though it more than doubled from the same period last year.

Full article:
China’s North Korean coal imports drop to two-year low on ban
Reuters
2017-03-23

Inย other words, it is not only imports of North Korean coal that have dropped. Imports from other countries have fallen too. The “import ban” and fall in imports, rather than beingย linked by direct causation, may stem from a combination of factors that were already at play. Any conclusions that “China is putting the squeeze on North Korea” or the like are still premature.

On a different note regarding China-North Korea-trade, NK Economy Watch editor Curtis Melvin notes on Radio Free Asia that the Nampo port oil terminal has been upgraded.ย Perhaps a sign of long-term expectations on the North Korean side of long-run trade ties with China…

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China says it is suspending imports of North Korean coal for the rest of the year

Saturday, February 18th, 2017

By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

In yet another so-called “strong signal”, China’s commerce ministry said on Saturday it won’t be importing any more coal from North Korea for the rest of the year. Remember, that coal that was already basically supposed to not be imported after last year’s sanctions (save for that generating revenue for humanitarian purposes). And the imports of which was already supposed to be capped at a low monetary limit. And so on and so forth.

Of course, as a usual caveat this time couldย be different but whether or not this decision will be enforced, and how strictly, remains to be seen, to put it mildly. China has other concerns in its relationship with the Korean peninsula and North Korea than signalling its commitment to the international community. Moreover, as I have written before,ย there are many factors that impact Chinese imports of North Korean coal than central government decisions. Domestic demand is one, and hasย probably played a greater role than diplomatic considerations over the past few years.

Other than the missile launch, one could suspect this is also a signal against the killing of Kim Jong-nam, who livedย under Chinese protection.

Yonhap:

China’s commerce ministry said Saturday it will suspend the import of North Korean coal, apparently in response to the latest provocations made by Pyongyang.

Beijing’s Ministry of Commerce said the decision, which comes into effect on Sunday, is in line with the United Nation’s sanction against North Korea. The suspension will be valid through Dec. 31, the ministry added.

“As coal takes up a significant portion of Pyongyang’s trade with China, the decision is anticipated to have a significant impact on North Korea,” an expert on China said.

Coal is estimated to take up 40 percent of North Korea’s exports to China.

China had banned imports of coal from North Korea in April last year, but had been making exceptions for those intended for household use, which led to criticism over the regulation’s effectiveness.

North Korea fired a new intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) called the Pukguksong-2 on Sunday from an air base in the country’s northwestern province toward waters off its east coast.

Full article:
China suspends imports of N.Korean coal
Yonhap News
2017-02-18

(Updateย 02-19-2017):ย an analysis from Choson Exchange:

When the UN Security Council imposed the cap on coal trade, China was left with the question of how such a cap could be implemented. Would there be an auction system for quotas? Is it able to track forward contracts or does it only know belatedly the level of coal trade after import figures come out? This problem came to the fore last year when the Chinese were unable to meet their commitments regarding the import cap as they wrestled with these problems.

China has generally chosen to ensure adequate flexibility in the wording of UNSC sanctions to give it wiggle room, rather than outright violating those rulings. Allowing a coal cap to pass at the UNSC indicates their willingness to adhere to the ruling. In imposing a ban for 2017, China probably took into account rapidly rising coal prices and a probable rush by companies to frontload sales ahead of the cap to predict that the coal cap would be breached far earlier in the year. Rather than risk a violation of the coal cap limit, China is proactively clamping down on trade.

Domestic concerns might also play a part. China is restricting domestic production of coal. Between domestic producers and North Korean ones, China obviously prefers the former.

Full article:
Why China imposed a ban on North Korean coal imports
Choson Exchange blog
2017-02-19

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Uptick in North Koreaโ€™s Renewable Energy Production

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

In North Korea, there are now three solar-powered ferries that sail the Taedong River: the Okryu 1, the Okryu 2, and the Okryu 3.

The North Korean governmentโ€™s wire service, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), reported on November 4, 2016: โ€œThe ferries sail between Kim Il Sung Square and the Tower of the Juche Idea, guaranteeing that citizens can travel during the rush hour. . . . These solar powered-ferries provide ferry services both to workers and for guests from home and abroad in the form of tourist and chartered services.โ€

According to KCNA, the three ferries were built at Ryongnam Shipyard, each weigh 45 tons, have a maximum speed of 6 knots, and can take up to 50โ€“60 passengers.

According to Yun Hyok, the captain of Okryu 1, โ€œthe ferry is powered by the energy of sun light . . . the driving system was created with the energy and skill of our engineers. The ship can run for around 8 hours when fully charged.โ€

Since the 1990s, North Korea has expressed determination to achieve energy independence, with Kim Jong Un pointing to resolving electricity difficulties as being a priority back in 2011. Subsequently, in 2013, a law was introduced to encourage research and the production of renewable energy, and at this yearโ€™s Seventh Party Congress it was announced that two hydropower stations had been opened. The importance of energy independence was also emphasized at the congress. It has also been confirmed that North Korea has been pursuing a long-term plan to raise the amount of energy produced from renewable sources to 5 million kW. In order to achieve this target, the plan envisages by 2044 that wind power will provide 15 percent of total energy demand.

This plan was discovered through internal materials on display at the Natural Energy Research Centre, formed in November 2014 as a result of an order issued by Kim Jong Un to develop energy resources that do not pollute the environment.

An overseas visitor to the Natural Energy Research Centre said that โ€œthe Centre in Pyongyang has a diagram of the 30-year plan to develop renewable energy with the title โ€˜The dream and ideal of Natural Energy Science developmentโ€™. . . . The materials there also indicate plans to train specialists in the science of โ€˜natural energyโ€™ development, and plans related to the development and trial sites for wind power, geothermal energy, and solar thermal energy.โ€

Such plans mean that North Korea plans to develop renewable energy, in addition to building hydroelectric power plants and/or using Chinese/Russian power to deal with energy shortages. In other words, they intend to attempt to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels and develop renewable energy. Since Kim Jong Unโ€™s rise to power, a variety of measures have been put in place and investments made to broaden the use of renewable energy.

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Electricity and the five year plan

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

According to Yonhap:

A pro-North Korean newspaper based in Japan said Tuesday that easing electric power shortages will be a prerequisite for North Korea to implement its new five-year plan for economic growth.

Without spelling out details, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un laid out a five-year strategy aimed at boosting the country’s moribund economy at the party congress which concluded its four-day run on May 9.

Kim stressed that resolving the shortage of electric power is critical to carrying out his vision for economic growth, saying that nuclear power generation needs to increase.

The Chosun Sinbo hailed the North’s economic plan, saying that if realized, the move will pave the way to improve the livelihood of people and boost balanced growth.

“North Korea is likely to focus on developing the defense industry…and to make efforts to tweak its advanced technology on the military and space programs to be applied into the improvement of North Koreans’ livelihood,” the newspaper said.

At the party congress, the North’s leader made it clear that he will “permanently” defend the pursuit of his signature policy of developing nuclear weapons in tandem with boosting the country’s moribund economy, commonly known as the “byeongjin” policy.

The newspaper said that the communist country is expected to lay out measures to back up the “dual-track” policy at the party level.

“As Pyongyang raised the issue of power shortages, the country is likely to focus on uses of nuclear power,” said Chang Yong-seok, a researcher at Seoul National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies.

Kim’s vision for economic growth came after the U.N. Security Council slapped its toughest sanctions to date on North Korea for its fourth nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch the following month.

Analysts said that Kim’s five-year economic development vision is too short on detail, especially when compared with his grandfather Kim Il-sung’s blueprint for economic growth which was unveiled at the party congress held in October 1980.

The North’s founder unveiled the 10-point plan to build a socialist country by setting special targets in economic sectors.

Here is a link to the Choson Sinbo article.

Here is the text:

๊น€์ •์€์กฐ์„ ์˜ ์ง„๋กœ๏ผ๋‹น ์ œ7์ฐจ๋Œ€ํšŒ ๋ณด๊ณ ์—์„œ(2)

2. ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜์œ„์—…์˜ ์™„์„ฑ์„ ์œ„ํ•˜์—ฌ

์ธ๋ฏผ๋“ค์—๊ฒŒ ์œ ์กฑํ•˜๊ณ  ๋ฌธ๋ช…ํ•œ ์ƒํ™œ์„๏ผ์ž๊ฐ•๋ ฅ์— ๊ธฐ์ดˆํ•œ ๋ถ€ํฅ์ „๋žต์˜ ์ถ”์ง„

์กฐ์„ ๋กœ๋™๋‹น์€ ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜์‹œ์ฑ…์— ๋”ฐ๋ผ ๋ชจ๋“  ์ธ๋ฏผ๋“ค์—๊ฒŒ ์œ ์กฑํ•˜๊ณ  ๋ฌธ๋ช…ํ•œ ์ƒํ™œ์„ ๋ณด์žฅํ•˜๋Š”๊ฒƒ์„ ๋ชฉํ‘œ๋กœ ์‚ผ๊ณ ์žˆ๋‹ค.(์กฐ์„ ์ค‘์•™ํ†ต์‹ )
์กฐ์„ ๋กœ๋™๋‹น์€ ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜์‹œ์ฑ…์— ๋”ฐ๋ผ ๋ชจ๋“  ์ธ๋ฏผ๋“ค์—๊ฒŒ ์œ ์กฑํ•˜๊ณ  ๋ฌธ๋ช…ํ•œ ์ƒํ™œ์„ ๋ณด์žฅํ•˜๋Š”๊ฒƒ์„ ๋ชฉํ‘œ๋กœ ์‚ผ๊ณ ์žˆ๋‹ค.(์กฐ์„ ์ค‘์•™ํ†ต์‹ )

๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐ•๊ตญ์˜ ํ‘œ์ƒ

์กฐ์„ ๋กœ๋™๋‹น ์ œ7์ฐจ๋Œ€ํšŒ๋Š” ์˜จ ์‚ฌํšŒ์˜ ๊น€์ผ์„ฑ-๊น€์ •์ผ์ฃผ์˜ํ™”์˜ ๋ชฉํ‘œ์™€ ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜๊ฐ•๊ตญ๊ฑด์„ค๊ฐ•๋ น์„ ์ œ์‹œํ•˜์˜€๋‹ค. ๊ทธ๋ฆฌ๊ณ  ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐ•๊ตญ๊ฑด์„ค์„ ํ˜„์‹œ๊ธฐ ์กฐ์„ ๋กœ๋™๋‹น๊ณผ ๊ตญ๊ฐ€๊ฐ€ ใ€Š์ด๋ ฅ์„ ์ง‘์ค‘ํ•ด์•ผ ํ•  ๊ธฐ๋ณธ์ „์„ ใ€‹์œผ๋กœ ๊ทœ์ •ํ•˜์˜€๋‹ค.

์„ธ๊ธฐ์™€ ์„ธ๊ธฐ๋ฅผ ์ด์–ด ๋ฒŒ์–ด์ง„ ์กฐ๊ตญ๋ณด์œ„์ „, ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜์ˆ˜ํ˜ธ์ „์—์„œ ์Šน๋ฆฌ๋ฅผ ๊ฑฐ๋‘” ์กฐ์„ ์˜ ์ง„๋กœ๋Š” ใ€Š๊ฐœํ˜ใ€‹, ใ€Š๊ฐœ๋ฐฉใ€‹์˜ ๊ธฐ๋ฐœ์„ ๋“ค๊ณ  ๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ฅผ ์ถ”์ผœ์„ธ์šด ๋‚˜๋ผ๋“ค์ด ๊ฑท๋˜ ๊ธธ๊ณผ๋Š” ๋‹ค๋ฅด๋‹ค. ์กฐ์„ ์˜ ์ ๋Œ€๊ตญ๋“ค์€ ์ œ์žฌ, ๋ด‰์‡„์˜ ํ•ด์ œ์™€ ์™ธ๊ตญ์ž๋ณธ์˜ ๋ฅ˜์ž…์ด ์—†์ด๋Š” ์กฐ์„ ๊ฒฝ์ œ์˜ ํšŒ์ƒ์€ ๋ถˆ๊ฐ€๋Šฅํ•˜๋‹ค๋ฉฐ ๋ณ‘์ง„๋กœ์„ ์˜ ํฌ๊ธฐ๋ฅผ ๊ฐ•์š”ํ•˜๊ณ ์žˆ์ง€๋งŒ ํ˜๋Ÿฌ๊ฐ„ ์„ธ์›”์„ ์ž๋ž‘์ฐจ๊ฒŒ ์ดํ™”ํ•˜๊ณ  ๊ณ ๊ท€ํ•œ ํฌ์ƒ์šฐ์— ์ด๋ฃฉํ•œ ์Šน๋ฆฌ๋ฅผ ์ž๋ถ€ํ•˜๋Š” ๋‹น๊ณผ ๊ตญ๊ฐ€๊ฐ€ ์ด์ œ์™€์„œ ๋ถ€๋‹นํ•œ ์••๋ ฅ์— ๊ตด๋ณตํ•˜์—ฌ ํƒ€ํ˜‘๊ณผ ์ข…์†์˜ ๊ธธ์„ ํƒํ•˜๋ฆฌ๋ผ๊ณ  ์ƒ๊ฐํ•˜๋Š”๊ฒƒ์€ ์–ด๋ฆฌ์„๋‹ค.

๋‹น ์ œ7์ฐจ๋Œ€ํšŒ ๋ณด๊ณ ๋Š” ์กฐ์„ ์ด ๊ฑด์„คํ•˜๋ ค๊ณ  ํ•˜๋Š” ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐ•๊ตญ์˜ ํ‘œ์ƒ์„ ๋ฐํ˜”๋‹ค. ๊ทธ ํ•˜๋‚˜๋Š” ใ€Š์ž๋ฆฝ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐ•๊ตญใ€‹์ด๋‹ค. ๋‹ค์‹œ๋งํ•˜์—ฌ ๊ตญ๋ฐฉ๊ฑด์„ค๊ณผ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฑด์„ค, ์ธ๋ฏผ์ƒํ™œ์— ํ•„์š”ํ•œ ๋ฌผ์งˆ์ ์ˆ˜๋‹จ๋“ค์„ ์ž์ฒด๋กœ ์ƒ์‚ฐ๋ณด์žฅํ•˜๋Š” ๋‚˜๋ผ, ์ธ๋ฏผ์˜ ์ž์ฃผ์ •์‹ ๊ณผ ์ฐฝ์กฐ์ •์‹ , ๊ณผํ•™๊ธฐ์ˆ ์˜ ์œ„๋ ฅ์œผ๋กœ ์ „์ง„ํ•˜๊ณ  ๋ฐœ์ „ํ•˜๋Š” ๋‚˜๋ผ๋‹ค.

์˜ค๋Š˜ ์šฐ๋ฆฌ๊ฐ€ ๋ฏฟ์„๊ฒƒ์€ ์˜ค์ง ์ž๊ธฐ ํž˜๋ฐ–์— ์—†๋‹ค, ๋ˆ„๊ตฌ๋„ ์šฐ๋ฆฌ๋ฅผ ๋„์™€์ฃผ๋ ค๊ณ  ํ•˜์ง€ ์•Š์œผ๋ฉฐ ์šฐ๋ฆฌ ๋‚˜๋ผ๊ฐ€ ํ†ต์ผ๋˜๊ณ  ๊ฐ•๋Œ€ํ•ด์ง€๋ฉฐ ์ž˜์‚ด๊ณ  ํฅํ•˜๋Š”๊ฒƒ์„ ๋ฐ”๋ผ์ง€ ์•Š๋Š”๋‹คโ€ฆ ๋‹น๋Œ€ํšŒ ๋ณด๊ณ ์˜ ๊ตฌ์ ˆ์ด๋‹ค. ์—ฌ๊ธฐ์—๋Š” ํ˜„ ๊ตญ์ œ์ •์„ธ์™€ ์„ธ๊ณ„๊ฒฝ์ œ์งˆ์„œ์— ๋Œ€ํ•œ ๋žญ์ •ํ•œ ๋ถ„์„๊ณผ ํŒ๋‹จ์ด ๊น”๋ ค์žˆ๋‹ค.

์กฐ์„ ์˜ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฑด์„คํ˜„์žฅ์— ํœ˜๋‚ ๋ฆฌ๋Š”๊ฒƒ์€ ์ž๊ฐ•๋ ฅ์ œ์ผ์ฃผ์˜์˜ ๊ธฐ๋ฐœ์ด๋‹ค. ๋‹น๋Œ€ํšŒ ๋ณด๊ณ ๋Š” ์ž์ฒด์˜ ํž˜๊ณผ ๊ธฐ์ˆ , ์ž์›์— ์˜๊ฑฐํ•˜์—ฌ ์ž๊ธฐ ๋ ฅ๋Ÿ‰์„ ๊ฐ•ํ™”ํ•˜๊ณ  ์•ž๊ธธ์„ ๊ฐœ์ฒ™ํ•ด๋‚˜๊ฐ„๋‹ค๋Š” ์ฃผ์ฒด์ ๊ด€์ ์—์„œ ๋ชจ๋“  ๋ฌธ์ œ๋ฅผ ํ’€์–ด๋‚˜๊ฐˆ๊ฒƒ์„ ๊ฐ•์กฐํ•˜์˜€๋‹ค.

๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฑด์„ค์—์„œ ์‚ฌ๋Œ€์™€ ์™ธ์„ธ์˜์กด์„ ๋ฐฐ๊ฒฉํ•˜๊ฒŒ ๋˜๋Š”๊ฒƒ์€ ์กฐ์„ ์˜ ์ง€ํ–ฅ์ด ์ผ๋ฐ˜์ ์ธ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ถ€ํฅ์ด ์•„๋‹ˆ๋ผ ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐ•๊ตญ์˜ ๊ฑด์„ค์— ์žˆ๋‹ค๋Š”๊ฒƒ๊ณผ๋„ ๊ด€๋ จ๋œ๋‹ค. ์กฐ์„ ์€ ๊ตญ๋‚ด์ด์ƒ์‚ฐ์ด๋‚˜ ๊ตญ๋ฏผ์†Œ๋“์˜ ์ˆ˜์น˜๋งŒ์„ ๋†’์ด๋Š”๋ฐ ์น˜์šฐ์น ๊ฒƒ์ด ์•„๋‹ˆ๋ผ ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜์‹œ์ฑ…์— ๋”ฐ๋ผ ๋ชจ๋“  ์ธ๋ฏผ๋“ค์—๊ฒŒ ์œ ์กฑํ•˜๊ณ  ๋ฌธ๋ช…ํ•œ ์ƒํ™œ์„ ๋ณด์žฅํ•˜๋Š”๊ฒƒ์„ ๋ชฉํ‘œ๋กœ ์‚ผ๊ณ ์žˆ๋‹ค. ์ธ๋ฏผ์„ ์œ„ํ•œ ์ธ๋ฏผ์˜ ๋‚˜๋ผ, ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐ•๊ตญ์˜ ๊ฑด์„ค์€ ์ž๋ณธ์ฃผ์˜๋ฐฉ์‹์œผ๋กœ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ฅผ ๋ฐœ์ „์‹œ์ผœ์˜จ ๋‚˜๋ผ๋“ค์˜ ใ€Š์„ ์˜ใ€‹๋‚˜ ใ€Š์›์กฐใ€‹๋”ฐ์œ„๋Š” ์• ๋‹น์ดˆ ๊ธฐ๋Œ€ํ•˜์ง€ ๋ง์•„์•ผ ํ•  ์ „์ธ๋ฏธ๋‹ต์˜ ๊ธธ์ด๋‹ค.

5๊ฐœ๋…„์ „๋žต์˜ ์ˆ˜ํ–‰

๋‹น ์ œ7์ฐจ๋Œ€ํšŒ๋Š” 2016๋…„๋ถ€ํ„ฐ 2020๋…„๊นŒ์ง€์˜ ๊ตญ๊ฐ€๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ฐœ์ „ 5๊ฐœ๋…„์ „๋žต์„ ์ˆ˜ํ–‰ํ• ๋ฐ ๋Œ€ํ•œ ๊ณผ์—…์„ ์ œ์‹œํ•˜์˜€๋‹ค.

์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜๊ณ„ํš๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐ€ ์‹ค์‹œ๋˜๋Š” ์กฐ์„ ์—์„œ๋Š” ๊ณผ๊ฑฐ์— ใ€Š5๊ฐœ๋…„๊ณ„ํšใ€‹, ใ€Š7๊ฐœ๋…„๊ณ„ํšใ€‹๊ณผ ๊ฐ™์€ ์ „๋ง๊ณ„ํš์ด ์ˆ˜๋ฆฝ, ์‹คํ–‰๋˜์˜€๋Š”๋ฐ 1990๋…„๋Œ€ ์ดํ›„๋Š” ๊ตญ๊ฐ€๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐ€ ๋‚œ๊ด€์— ์ฒ˜ํ•˜์—ฌ ์ „๋ง๊ณ„ํš์„ ์„ธ์šธ ํ˜•ํŽธ์ด ๋˜์ง€ ์•Š์•˜๋‹ค. ์ด๋ฒˆ์— ๋‹จ๋…„๋„๊ฐ€ ์•„๋‹Œ 5๋…„๊ฐ„์˜ ๋ชฉํ‘œ๊ฐ€ ใ€Š๊ตญ๊ฐ€๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ฐœ์ „์ „๋žตใ€‹์œผ๋กœ ์ •๋ฆฝ๋˜๊ณ  ๋‹น๋Œ€ํšŒ ๋ณด๊ณ ๊ฐ€ ๊ทธ ์ˆ˜ํ–‰๋ฌธ์ œ๋ฅผ ๊ฐ•์กฐํ•œ๊ฒƒ์€ ์กฐ์„ ์˜ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐ€ ๋ณธ์—ฐ์˜ ์ฒด๊ณ„๋ฅผ ๊ฐ–์ถ”์–ด๋‚˜๊ฐ€๊ณ ์žˆ์Œ์„ ๋ณด์—ฌ์ฃผ๋Š” ์ง•ํ‘œ๋‹ค.

๊ตญ๊ฐ€๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ฐœ์ „5๊ฐœ๋…„์ „๋žต์˜ ๋ชฉํ‘œ๋Š” ์ธ๋ฏผ๊ฒฝ์ œ์ „๋ฐ˜์„ ํ™œ์„ฑํ™”ํ•˜๊ณ  ๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ถ€๋ฌธ์‚ฌ์ด์˜ ๊ท ํ˜•์„ ๋ณด์žฅํ•˜์—ฌ ๋‚˜๋ผ์˜ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ฅผ ์ง€์†์ ์œผ๋กœ ๋ฐœ์ „์‹œํ‚ฌ์ˆ˜ ์žˆ๋Š” ํ† ๋Œ€๋ฅผ ๋งˆ๋ จํ•˜๋Š”๊ฒƒ์ด๋‹ค. ์ด ์ „๋žต์ˆ˜ํ–‰์˜ ์„ ๊ฒฐ์กฐ๊ฑด์ด ๋ฐ”๋กœ ์ „๋ ฅ๋ฌธ์ œ์˜ ํ•ด๊ฒฐ์ด๋ฉฐ ๋‹น๋Œ€ํšŒ ๋ณด๊ณ ๋Š” ์›์ž๋ ฅ๋ฐœ์ „์˜ ์ถ”์ง„ ๋“ฑ ์ผ๋ จ์˜ ๋ฐฉ๋„๋“ค์— ๋Œ€ํ•ด์„œ๋„ ์–ธ๊ธ‰ํ•˜์˜€๋‹ค.

์กฐ์„ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ฅผ ๋‘˜๋Ÿฌ์‹ผ ํ™˜๊ฒฝ์€ ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜์‹œ์žฅ์ด ์กด์žฌํ•˜๊ณ  ๊ทธ๋ฅผ ์ „์ œ๋กœ ํ•˜์—ฌ ๋‹ค๋…„๋„์— ๊ฑธ์นœ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ฐœ์ „๊ณ„ํš์ด ์ˆ˜๋ฆฝ, ์‹คํ–‰๋˜๋˜ 1980๋…„๋Œ€ ์ด์ „์‹œ๊ธฐ์™€ ๋‹ค๋ฅด๋‹ค. ๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ถ€ํฅ์˜ ์ถœ๋กœ๋Š” ์™ธ๋ถ€๊ฐ€ ์•„๋‹ˆ๋ผ ๋‚ด๋ถ€์—์„œ ์ฐพ์•„์•ผ ํ•œ๋‹ค. ๋‹น๋Œ€ํšŒ ๋ณด๊ณ ๋Š” ๊ณผํ•™๊ธฐ์ˆ ์„ ์‚ฌํšŒ๋ฐœ์ „์˜ ์ถ”๋™๋ ฅ์œผ๋กœ ์‚ผ์„๋ฐ ๋Œ€ํ•˜์—ฌ ์ง€์ ํ•˜๊ณ  ๊ณผํ•™์ž๋“ค์ด ๋‚จ๋“ค์ด ๊ฑธ์€ ๊ธธ์„ ๋”ฐ๋ผ๋งŒ ๊ฐˆ๊ฒƒ์ด ์•„๋‹ˆ๋ผ ๋ฏผ์กฑ์ ์ž์กด์‹ฌ์„ ํญ๋ฐœ์‹œ์ผœ ๋…„๋Œ€์™€ ๋…„๋Œ€๋ฅผ ๋›ฐ์—ฌ๋„˜์œผ๋ฉฐ ๋น„์•ฝํ• ๊ฒƒ์„ ํ˜ธ์†Œํ•˜์˜€๋‹ค.

ํ•œํŽธ ๋‹น๋Œ€ํšŒ ๋ณด๊ณ ๋Š” ๋ฌด์—ญ๊ตฌ์กฐ์˜ ๊ฐœ์„ , ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฐœ๋ฐœ๊ตฌ๋“ค์— ๋Œ€ํ•œ ํˆฌ์ž์กฐ๊ฑด๋ณด์žฅ ๋“ฑ ๋Œ€์™ธ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ด€๊ณ„๋ฅผ ํ™•๋Œ€๋ฐœ์ „์‹œํ‚ฌ๋ฐ ๋Œ€ํ•ด์„œ๋„ ๊ฐ•์กฐํ•˜์˜€๋‹ค. ์ž๊ฐ•๋ ฅ์ œ์ผ์ฃผ์˜๋Š” ใ€ŠํŽ˜์‡„๊ฒฝ์ œใ€‹์™€ ๋ฌด๊ด€ํ•˜๋‹ค. ์„ธ๊ณ„ ์—ฌ๋Ÿฌ ๋‚˜๋ผ๋“ค๊ณผ์˜ ๊ต๋ฅ˜, ํ˜‘๋ ฅ์˜ ์ถ”์ง„์€ ์กฐ์„ ์˜ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ถ€ํฅ์ „๋žต์—์„œ ๋ณ€ํ•จ์—†๋Š” ๊ธฐ๋‘ฅ์˜ ํ•˜๋‚˜๋‹ค.

๋ณ‘์ง„๋กœ์„ ์˜ ์‹คํšจ์„ฑ

์กฐ์„ ์˜ ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜๊ฒฝ์ œ๋Š” ์‹œ๋Œ€์˜ ์š”๊ตฌ์™€ ์ธ๋ฏผ์˜ ๋ฆฌ์ต์„ ๋ฐ˜์˜ํ•˜์—ฌ ๋ถ€๋‹จํžˆ ๋ณ€ํ™”๋ฐœ์ „ํ•˜๊ณ ์žˆ๋‹ค. ์ง€๋‚œ ์„ธ๊ธฐ ๋งˆ์ง€๋ง‰๋…„๋Œ€์— ์ง๋ฉดํ•œ ์ตœ์•…์˜ ๊ฒฝ์ œ์ ์‹œ๋ จ์„ ๊ทน๋ณตํ•œ ๋‹ค์Œ๋ถ€ํ„ฐ ๋‚˜๋ผ์˜ ๊ฒฝ์ œ์‚ฌ๋ น๋ถ€์ธ ๋‚ด๊ฐ์˜ ์—ญํ• ์ด ๋” ๊ฐ•์กฐ๋˜๊ณ  ๋‚ด๊ฐ์ฑ…์ž„์ œ, ๋‚ด๊ฐ์ค‘์‹ฌ์ œ์— ๋”ฐ๋ฅด๋Š” ๊ฒฝ์ œ์ž‘์ „, ์ง€ํœ˜์˜ ์งˆ์„œ๊ฐ€ ์„ธ์›Œ์กŒ๋‹ค. ์ƒˆ ์„ธ๊ธฐ์— ๋“ค์–ด์„œ์„œ๋Š” ใ€Š์šฐ๋ฆฌ์‹ ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ด€๋ฆฌ๋ฐฉ๋ฒ•ใ€‹์— ๋Œ€ํ•œ ํƒ๊ตฌ์™€ ์‹ค์ฒœ์ด ์ƒˆ ์ฐจ์›์—์„œ ์ด๋ฃจ์–ด์ง€๊ณ  ์ตœ๊ทผ๋…„๊ฐ„์€ ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜๊ธฐ์—…์ฑ…์ž„๊ด€๋ฆฌ์ œ๊ฐ€ ์‹ค์‹œ๋˜์—ฌ ์€์„ ๋‚ด๊ณ ์žˆ๋‹ค.

๋‹น์ค‘์•™์œ„์›ํšŒ ์ œ7๊ธฐ ์ œ1์ฐจ ์ „์›ํšŒ์˜์—์„œ๋Š” ๊ฒฝ์ œ์‚ฌ๋ น๋ถ€์˜ ์ฑ…์ž„์ž์ธ ๋‚ด๊ฐ์ด๋ฆฌ๊ฐ€ ๋‹น์ค‘์•™์œ„์›ํšŒ ์ •์น˜๊ตญ ์ƒ๋ฌด์œ„์›(5๋ช…)๊ณผ ๋‹น์ค‘์•™๊ตฐ์‚ฌ์œ„์›ํšŒ ์œ„์›(11๋ช…)์œผ๋กœ ์„ ๊ฑฐ๋˜์˜€๋‹ค. ๊ฒฝ์ œ๊ฑด์„ค๊ณผ ํ•ต๋ฌด๋ ฅ๊ฑด์„ค์˜ ๋ณ‘์ง„๋กœ์„ ์„ ์ฒ ์ €ํžˆ ๊ด€์ฒ ํ•˜์—ฌ ๊ทธ ์‹คํšจ์„ฑ์„ ๋”์šฑ ๋†’์ด๋Š” ๋Œ€์ฑ…๋“ค์ด ๋‹น์ ์ฐจ์›์—์„œ ์ด๋ฃจ์–ด์ ธ๋‚˜๊ฐˆ๊ฒƒ์ด๋‹ค.

๊ตญ๋ฐฉ๊ณต์—…์„ ์šฐ์„ ์ ์œผ๋กœ ๋ฐœ์ „์‹œํ‚ค๋ฉด์„œ ๊ฒฝ๊ณต์—…๊ณผ ๋†์—…์„ ๋™์‹œ์— ๋ฐœ์ „์‹œํ‚ค๋Š” ๋ฐฉ๋„, ๊ตฐ์‚ฌ์™€ ์šฐ์ฃผ๊ฐœ๋ฐœ๋ถ€๋ฌธ ๋“ฑ์˜ ์ตœ์ฒจ๋‹จ๊ธฐ์ˆ ์„ ๋ฏผ์ƒ๊ธฐ์ˆ ๋กœ ์ „์šฉํ•˜์—ฌ ์ธ๋ฏผ์ƒํ™œํ–ฅ์ƒ์œผ๋กœ ์ด์–ด๊ฐ€๋Š” ๋ฐฉ๋ฒ•๋ก  ๋“ฑ ์กฐ์„ ์˜ ๊ตญ๋ ฅ์— ๊ฑธ๋งž๋Š” ๊ฒฝ์ œ์ •์ฑ…์ด ๊ตฌ์ฒดํ™”๋ ๊ฒƒ์œผ๋กœ ๋ณด์ธ๋‹ค. ์กฐ์„ ์‹ ์‚ฌํšŒ์ฃผ์˜๊ฒฝ์ œ์˜ ์ง„๋ฉด๋ชจ๋Š” ์•ž์œผ๋กœ ๋‹น๋Œ€ํšŒ์—์„œ ์–ธ๊ธ‰๋œ ๊ตญ๊ฐ€๊ฒฝ์ œ๋ฐœ์ „5๊ฐœ๋…„์ „๋žต์ด ์ˆ˜ํ–‰๋˜๋Š” ๊ณผ์ •์— ๋ณด๋‹ค ๋šœ๋ ท์ด ๋‚˜ํƒ€๋‚ ๊ฒƒ์ด๋‹ค.

Read the full story here:
Easing power shortage critical for N.K.’s new economy plan: report
Yonhap
2016-5-17

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New power plants operational before KWP congress

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

The Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station No. 3

Paektusan-youth-power-staiton-3-2016-5-11

Pictured above (Yonhap): The Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station No. 3

Paektusan-power-stations-1-3

Pictured Above (Google Earth): The dam is too recent to appear on Google Earth imagery as of publication, but here are the locations of Paektusan Hero Youth Power Stations Nos 1-3

According to KCNA (2016-5-21):

Paektusan Hero Youth Power Stations in Full Operation

The Paektusan Hero Youth Power stations, built in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea as a symbol of youth power, are now running at full capacity to supply electricity to the area of Mt. Paektu.

Kim Hyong Dok, chairman of the Samjiyon County, Ryanggang Province, People’s Committee, told KCNA:

Now is the dry season, but the stations have generated much electricity for industrial establishments, public cultural establishments and residential quarters in the county.

They are greatly helpful to the county’s economic development and the improvement of its population’s livelihood.

Academician, Prof. and Dr. So Pyong Hwa of Hamhung University of Hydraulic Engineering, said:

Electricity from the stations is also supplied to its neighboring Pochon and Paekam counties and Hyesan City.

It is very gratifying to see the safe conditions of hydraulic structures and generators at the stations. And it is better to read the mentality of their employees resolved to contribute to the province’s economic development and the improvement of its inhabitants’ livelihood with increased electricity production.

According to KCNAย (2016-3-31):

Dam Project of Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station No. 3 Completed

Members of the youth shock brigade of the DPRK finished the dam project of the Paektusan Hero Youth Power Station No. 3 on March 31.

Members of the shock brigade and other builders vied with each other to mount the dam to greet the historic moment of the completion of the dam project.
At 10 a.m. they made a report on the completion of the dam project to supreme leader Kim Jong Un, looking up to the sky above Pyongyang.

The project started on January 13.

The completion of the dam project in a matter of less than three months represents a heroic epic which could be created only by the heroes of the youth power who grew up under the care of the peerlessly great men of Mt Paektu and a miracle they worked as young people of heroic Korea by bringing about a great leap forward by doing 10 yearsโ€™ work just in one year.

Kim Jong-un visited on April 23.

Yonhap reports that its hasty construction meant the dam was not properly constructed, and it is already leaking.

The Paektusan Hero Youth Power Stations 1 & 2 were formally known as the Paektusan Songun Youth Power Stations. The Paektusan Songun Power Station No. 2 was submitted to the UNFCCC program.

It is still too early to tell, but it appears that power from these three plants will be going to Samjiyon and maybe Hyesan.

Wonsan Army-People Power Station

Wonsan-army-people-google-earth-2016-05-01

Above (Google Earth): The wonsan Army-People Power Station Dam, canal, and two hydro power stations.

Wonsan-army-people-Rosong-Sinmun-2016-05-01

Above (Rodong Sinmun)

According to Rodong Sinmun (2016-5-2):

Large-scale Wonsan Army-People Power Station has been built in Kangwon Province.

The power station has provided a foundation for generating the electricity necessary for developing the economy and improving the living standard of the people and solving the issues of household water, industrial water and irrigation water in the province.

An inaugural ceremony of the power station took place on April 29.

Present at the ceremony were Pak Pong Ju, O Su Yong, officials concerned, builders and working people.

A message of thanks from the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) was delivered.

The message appreciated the builders of the power station and supporters for building another monumental edifice representing the era of the Workersโ€™ Party by dint of self-development and self-reliance as a laudable present to the Seventh Congress of the WPK.

Pak Jong Nam, chief secretary of the Kangwon Provincial Committee of the WPK, in a speech called upon the officials, working people and builders of the province to create a fresh Mallima speed in their worksites in the same spirit as was displayed in the construction of the power station.

At the end of the ceremony the participants went round the power station.

This project was submitted to the UNFCCC for consideration.

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Gasoline prices in North Korea up by 52 pct in first week of April

Friday, April 8th, 2016

By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

Daily NK reports some interesting (albeit anecdotal) price data from North Korea:

Firm sanctions imposed by the UN on North Korea have now been in effect for over a month. Although rice prices and the exchange rate in North Korean markets have remained relatively stable, the price of fuel has skyrocketed.

On April 4, Daily NK spoke with a source in Ryanggang Province who confirmed these facts. The price of 1 kilogram [the kilogram is the standard measurement of gasoline and diesel fuel in North Korea, though the liter is often used colloquially] of gasoline, which was 7,000 KPW [0.86 USD] at the end of March, increased in the first week of April to 10,700 KPW [1.32 USD].

This represents a 52 percent price increase in just a week.

Sources in North Hamgyong Province and Pyongyang have corroborated this news, reporting that prices in their regions are reflecting the trends prevailing in Ryanggang Province.

Diesel fuel prices have increased in tandem with gasoline. In Hyesan, 1 kilogram of gasoline is going for 6,350 KPW [0.78 USD] at the markets, a 1,000 KPW [0.12 USD] increase over last monthโ€™s prices.

This is a much smaller prices change — an 18 percent increase — but still significant.

A major factor behind the price spike is thought to be the large-scale construction projects that are underway, the source said, further noting that, โ€œWorkers mobilized for construction projects are saying that their worries are increasing at the same rate as fuel prices.โ€

Concerns that these prices will only continue to rise are widespread. Of particular importance, because planting season is just around the corner, farmers are also trying to procure fuel supplies for themselves, increasing demand and further exacerbating the situation. This has been made more difficult by the fact that fuel previously supplied to the markets through smuggling is comparatively harder to come by due to intensified crackdowns on these activities.

Furthermore, April and May are the prime months for catching mackerel, and June is when squid season gets underway. In anticipation of this busy period, fishermen are anxious to get their hands on fuel. โ€œAs the saying goes,โ€ the source said, โ€œfishing is survival, and the fishermen anticipate huge losses this year if they fail to secure an adequate supply of fuel right now.โ€

Citizens are divided over whether or not the sanctions are responsible for driving the increase in fuel costs, the source added. Although some believe that this is the sanctions beginning to show their effects, others are blaming the military for siphoning off supplies, pointing out that prices for other goods have remained constant.

As is often the case, it seems the price increases cannot be attributed to one single factor such as the sanctions. Aside from the factors cited above,ย it would not be surprising if expectations play a roleย and hoarding has increased, out of anticipation that sanctions may sooner or later impact prices.

Full article here:
April brings fuel price hike
Kang Mi Jin
Daily NK
2016-04-07

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UNSC adopts new DPRK sanctions: UNSC Resolution 2270

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

UPDATE 7 (2016-3-24): The Daily NK reports that DPRK coal shipments are sitting in limbo outside of Chinese ports.

UPDATE 6 (2016-3-18):ย NPR discusses China’s interest in enforcing new sanctions:

Beijing has begun instructing Chinese banks, ports and shipping and trading companies doing business with North Korea to implement the U.N. resolution to the letter.

Adam Szubin, the Treasury Department’s acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, tells NPR that China is taking this very seriously.

“I know from my meetings here in Beijing that my counterparts have very much taken the resolution to heart,” he says.

Szubin, who visited Beijing this week, says the new sanctions will hit hard enough to change Pyongyang’s “decision-making calculus.”

The new U.N. resolution is not just “adding a few new companies to a sanctions list or a few new North Korean officials,” Szubin says. Instead, it targets “every major aspect of North Korea’s access to international shipping, international banking [and] international trade to develop revenues for its missile and illicit nuclear programs.”

Although China appears committed, the sanctions put it in a tough spot.

First, says People’s University international relations expert Cheng Xiaohe, some Chinese companies are going to take a hit to their bottom line. China-North Korea trade was worth $6.86 billion in 2014.

“At the same time as we protect our national security interests, we must be prepared to sacrifice some of our own economic interests in order to accurately target North Korea with sanctions,” he says.

Cheng says the U.S. has its work cut out for it, collecting intelligence on the hundreds of Chinese firms doing business with North Korea, and on North Korean firms adept at concealing their business dealings behind fronts and shells.

And if Chinese firms are found to be violating the U.N. resolution, Cheng points out, they could themselves face sanctions.

“This could create new frictions between the U.S. and China,” he warns. “I hope that the U.S. will think carefully before it uses this big stick to crack down on Chinese firms.”

Cheng notes that China continues to supply North Korea with crude oil as humanitarian assistance. The sanctions allow this, even if North Korea may be able to refine some of the oil for military uses.

China says neither a humanitarian crisis nor regime collapse are acceptable outcomes for North Korea. But Zhang Liangui, a veteran North Korea watcher at China’s Central Party School in Beijing, says that at the end of the day, China cannot save North Korea from its fate.

“If North Korea is going to collapse,” he says, “no external force can prop it up. Frankly speaking, whether it collapses or continues to develop will mainly depend on its own domestic and foreign policies.”

UPDATE 5 (2016-3-15): According to UPI, the Philippines has searched a second DPRK ship.

UPDATE 4 (2016 3-10):ย Sanctioned North Korean ship, Gold Star 3, was turned away from Hong Kong port. According to Yonhap (via Korea Times):

Hong Kong has banned a North Korean freighter, which is blacklisted by new U.N. sanctions over the North’s latest nuclear test and rocket launch, from berthing at its port, a source with knowledge of the matter said Thursday.

The North Korean freighter Gold Star 3 arrived at the Hong Kong port on Wednesday to get fuel and supplies for its crew, but Hong Kong authorities did not allow the ship to dock at the port, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

The ship is among 31 vessels operated by a North Korean shipping company, Ocean Maritime Management, which is hit by the new U.N. sanctions.

For now, the ship is said to be staying in international waters, according to the source.

Media reports have said the Chinese port of Rizhao in the eastern Shandong province also barred another North Korean ship from docking at the port.

China has said it will “earnestly” implement the new U.N. sanctions, but the sanctions should not affect the well-being and humanitarian needs of North Korean people.

Still, China is unlikely to put crippling sanctions on North Korea because a sudden collapse of the regime could spark a refugee crisis at its border and lead to a pro-U.S., democratic Korea on its doorstep, analysts say.

UPDATE 3 (2016-3-6): North Korea ship impounded in Philippines. According to Yonhap:

A North Korean ship impounded in the Philippines last week was registered as being from Sierra Leone via a practice called flag of convenience, South Korea said Sunday.

Flag of convenience is a business practice of registering a merchant ship to a country other than its origin for the purposes of avoiding taxes and other regulations.

The Philippines seized the North Korean ship Jin Teng on Saturday, becoming the first country to enforce sanctions on the reclusive country since the United Nations Security Council passed a more comprehensive resolution last week.

Resolution 2270 subjects 31 ships belonging to North Korea’s Wonyang Shipping Corp. to an asset freeze and sanctions.

Despite being Sierra Leone-flagged, the Jin Teng was seized because the sanctions are imposed via the ship’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) number, not its country of origin, a South Korean official said.

Nine other ships on the list are registered as being from countries other than North Korea, including Tanzania and Cambodia, the official added.

Here is coverage in Xinhua.

UPDATE 2 (2016-3-4): Analysis of the sanctions byย the European Council on Foreign Relations:

The case of sanctions against North Korea โ€“ where earlier resolutions were already adopted in 2006, 2009 and 2013 โ€“ provides a useful window into their efficiency and limits. All the more so because the debate on this latest round of sanctions has been long and hard (it has been nearly two months since the DPRKโ€™s nuclear test of 6 January). As noted by ECFRโ€™s Mathieu Duchรขtel earlier this week, China and Russia have taken a big step towards tightening the noose around Pyongyang โ€“ by accepting to place limits on its external revenue, in areas that go much beyond the illicit activities directly targeted by the resolution. They have agreed to a ban on the export of coal, iron ore, rare earth and other minerals, as well as gold, and also to inspection of North Korean cargoes in other ports. The sanctions include North Korean diplomatic offices that harbour entities otherwise targeted by sanctions. All of these developments have the potential to be game changers. The fact that China โ€“ which received 90 percent of North Koreaโ€™s foreign trade given earlier sanctions โ€“ has agreed to the sanctions, certainly gives some indication of how vast the chasm between the Chinese and North Korean leadership is growing.

But more questions arise as a result of these sanctions, and on three different levels. Firstly, what are the limits of the resolution, secondly, how will it be implemented, and thirdly, what has been conceded or left out in order to secure this result at the United Nations Security Council.

The limits of these sanctions can be uncovered in the wording of the resolution itself. Almost all new sanctions can be overridden if the trade is being made for โ€œhumanitarianโ€ or โ€œlivelihood purposesโ€. These exceptions only apply if they do not generate โ€œrevenueโ€, which would seem to reserve the provision of bona fide food or medical assistance. Alas, the resolutionโ€™s language appears to be contradictory in places. Point b of article 28 exempts trades which are โ€œexclusively for livelihood purposes and unrelated to generating revenue for the DPRKโ€™s nuclear or ballistic programs or other activities prohibitedโ€. This clearly leaves the door open to other revenue streams. It is not clear whether the resolution will target North Koreaโ€™s export of indentured labour – not only in Russia, but in Poland and reportedly in Lithuania and Slovakia too. In these places there are North Korean workers remitting over 70 percent of their wages to the state โ€“ which leaves them with just $120 a month for living.

This loophole, along with the exclusion of oil imports from sanctions, has all the hallmarks of being imposed by China. There are many others too, such as the exclusion of coal re-exported from the port of Rason โ€“ a transit center for Mongolian coal towards Russia. Aviation fuel cannot be sold to North Korea but its planes can be fueled elsewhere on a return journey. North Korean financial institutions and firms elsewhere are subject to sanctions, with trade banned, but foreign firms already present in North Korea are not.

More important than these concerns is the undefined nature of โ€œinspectionsโ€ in foreign ports. In this respect, the US sanctions go much further by imposing checks on third parties. It will be interesting to see if the European Union, a champion of the โ€œsmart powerโ€ of sanctions, follows suit. Some, for example the French, who still suffer from the heavy fines imposed by the US on BNP Paribas because of its actions in Sudan, may beg to differ. In any case, the practical difficulties of checking, for example, on Chinaโ€™s immense export and re-export volume preclude an efficient implementation. What happens in Dandong, Chinaโ€™s notoriously opaque harbor that processes North Koreaโ€™s trade, is key. US sanctions will create moral hazard for traders, which is altogether a desirable but insufficient goal.

Which leads us to a third observation. The resolution has left a wide gamut of sanctions open to interpretation. In practice, these interpretations will be dictated by China, North Koreaโ€™s chief intermediary with the outside world. In some aspects, the resolution hands the key to North Koreaโ€™s economic fate to China, even if one might believe that North Korean diplomats are experts at circumventing restrictions, and creatively exploiting loopholes in โ€œeasyโ€ third countries. After all, who will be checking the โ€œhumanitarianโ€ nature of its relations with Namibia?

UPDATE 1 (2016-3-2):ย  Chinese banks halt transfer of yuan currency to N. Korean banks. According to Yonhap:

Chinese banks in the northern border city of Dandong have suspended the transfer of the yuan currency to North Korean banks, Chinese financial sector officials told Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday.

The move comes as the U.N. Security Council is set to vote on new sanctions against North Korea’s fourth nuclear test and rocket launch this year.

Employees of the Dandong branch offices of China’s top four state-owned banks, including Agricultural Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, as well as six commercial banks such as China Merchants Bank, told Yonhap that the suspension came after “orders” from their headquarters.

Since North Korea’s third nuclear test in 2013, the Dandong branches of the Chinese banks have halted the transfer of U.S. dollars to North Korean banks.

An employee of the Dandong branch of the Agricultural Bank of China said the order came down after North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January.

Dandong is a border city between North Korea and China and a main conduit of bilateral trade between the two neighboring countries.

ORIGINAL POST (2016-3-2): According to the Washington Post:

The U.N. Security Council unanimously adopted harsh sanctions Wednesday against North Korea, imposing some of the strongest measures ever used to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

The new sanctions come two months after North Korea tested what it claimed was a hydrogen bomb and a month after it conducted what was widely described as a banned missile test under the guise of launching a satellite into space. But U.S. officials began drafting the measures three years ago, soon after North Korea conducted a previous nuclear test, in order to move swiftly the next time it happened. Negotiations to win Chinaโ€™s support began two days after North Koreaโ€™s January nuclear test, its fourth in a decade.

The resolution is far more sweeping than existing sanctions requiring a link to proliferation activities. That precondition has been removed, in effect erasing the presumption of innocence.

It mandates cargo inspections for all goods going in and out of North Korea by land, sea or air, chokes off supplies of most aviation fuel for its armed forces, and bans the sale of all small arms and conventional weapons to Pyongyang. It also prohibits transactions that raise hard cash for North Korea through sales of its natural resources.

The resolution doubles the blacklist of people and institutions already sanctioned and requires countries to expel North Korean diplomats involved in any sanctioned activities.

One provision was designed to prevent Pyongyang from sending taekwondo instructors to train foreign police forces. Another bars North Koreans from specialized training at any school or research center in the world if the learning can advance Pyongyangโ€™s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

President Obama welcomed the sanctions as a firm and appropriate response to North Koreaโ€™s attempts to develop weapons of mass destruction.

โ€œToday, the international community, speaking with one voice, has sent Pyongyang a simple message: North Korea must abandon these dangerous programs and choose a better path for its people,โ€ he said.

As soon as the sanctions were released, the Treasury Department and the State Department updated their blacklists of people and entities tied to the Democratic Peopleโ€™s Republic of Korea, the official name for North Korea, and its proliferation programs. The designation freezes their U.S. assets and bars Americans from doing business with them.

The U.N. sanctions, which target the countryโ€™s elites and avoid โ€œadverse humanitarian consequencesโ€ for civilians, aim to accomplish what worked with less onerous sanctions on Iran by pushing the impoverished nation to quit pumping money into its nuclear program.

โ€œThe chronic suffering of the people of North Korea is the direct result of the choices made by the DPRK government, a government that has consistently prioritized its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs over providing for the most basic needs of its own people,โ€ said Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

โ€œThe North Korean government would rather grow its nuclear weapons program than grow its own children,โ€ she added.

The resolution was presented by the United States with the support of China, a sharp reversal, given Beijingโ€™s longtime support of its neighbor. Although the United States has long had an embargo on trade with North Korea, China has provided food and fuel and has been a key trading partner. In recent years, living conditions in North Korea have improved, thanks in large part to China.

In the past, China has been unwilling to tighten the screws on Pyongyang, in part out of concern for what an imploding, unstable North Korea might mean for Chinaโ€™s own border. But recently North Korea has continued testing new weapons and missiles, disregarding Chinaโ€™s warnings and personal envoys.

After North Korea on Jan. 6 detonated a new device โ€” calling it a hydrogen bomb, although most experts say it was a smaller nuclear device โ€” Chinaโ€™s ambassador to six-party talks, Wu Dawei, went to Pyongyang to urge restraint. Instead, North Korea announced while he was there that it would test a missile.

Chinaโ€™s about-face suggests it has started to realize that doing nothing would impose growing political costs internationally โ€” the possibility of a greater U.S. presence in the region and weaker relations with South Korea, which Beijing has been cultivating.

โ€œI expect thereโ€™s been a delayed recognition in China to the political price China was paying, with South Korea in particular, for its equivocation or outright silence about how to respond to North Korea and North Korea actions,โ€ said Jonathan Pollack, a specialist on East Asian politics and security at the Brookings Institution.

During a visit to Washington last month, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi hinted at the strains in policy toward North Korea.

โ€œOn the one hand, weโ€™re saying to the international community .โ€‰.โ€‰. that the normal exchanges, especially those affecting the livelihoods of the North Korean people, should not be adversely affected,โ€ he said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. โ€œOn the other hand, in order to uphold the international nuclear nonproliferation regime for the sake of denuclearization, our exchanges will be affected to some extent.โ€

But some analysts question the depth of Chinaโ€™s commitment to the latest round of sanctions.

โ€œThe real question going forward is whether China will enforce the new measures,โ€ said Victor Cha, a professor at Georgetown University. โ€œMy guess is that China will squeeze for a little bit, but not too hard, while the U.S. will want China to squeeze harder and for a longer period of time.โ€

Sung-Yoon Lee, a Korean studies professor at Tufts University, said the U.N. sanctions, even if violated in the future, will become increasingly meaningful if ordinary citizens in North Korea are adversely affected.

โ€œThe fact the U.N. is involved will lend greater legitimacy to the effort to sanction North Korea and enable others, like Japan and Europe, to shoulder some of the blame if there are negative repercussions from sanctions, so the blame doesnโ€™t just fall on the shoulders of the United States,โ€ he said.

Preparatory work on the sanctions began in early 2013, immediately after the Security Council passed a sanctions resolution in response to North Koreaโ€™s third nuclear test, according to a State Department official who spoke about the sensitive negotiations on the condition of anonymity. U.S. officials concluded that incrementally ratcheting up sanctions was insufficient and that more restrictive measures were needed, the official said.

As technical experts from many government agencies met to share ideas, a contingency draft of sanctions was repeatedly updated to be ready for a fourth nuclear test by North Korea.

On Jan. 8, two days after North Korea announced the fourth test, diplomats from the U.S. mission to the United Nations presented a draft to the Chinese mission. There was little response during January as China studied the proposed sanctions, which dropped requirements to prove proliferation links, as China had insisted on previously.

China did not change its position during a Jan. 27 visit to Beijing by Secretary of State John F. Kerry or during a Feb. 5 phone call that Obama placed to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

But after the Feb. 7 missile test, the State Department official said, the Chinese came around to the U.S. point of view. Throughout much of February, U.S. and Chinese diplomats met several times a day to discuss provisions that had to be approved by Beijing, the official said.

โ€œAt 8 or 9 at night, diplomats at the U.S. mission would schlep to the Chinese mission,โ€ the State Department official said. Then they would meet again the next day after Beijing had worked through the provisions overnight.

After a tentative agreement was reached early last week, U.S. officials had hoped for a quick adoption by the Security Council. But there were delays while Russia studied the sanctions to gauge their impact. Russia transports coal over a short stretch of railroad in North Korea to a port, and Moscow wanted reassurances it would not be banned, the official said.

In recent days, North Korea has boasted that more sanctions would not hurt. Now China, South Korea, Japan and the United States are awaiting its reaction. Early Thursday, hours after the sanctions were approved, the North fired short-range projectiles into the sea, South Koreaโ€™s Defense Ministry said.

โ€œWeโ€™ve seen its reckless and unpredictable acts for years,โ€ Power said. โ€œWeโ€™ve seen threats directed at the continental United States and the Republic of Korea. Weโ€™ve seen cyberattacks on American companies costing hundreds of millions of dollars. We do not expect a change of behavior overnight.โ€

Read the full story here:
U.N. adopts sweeping new sanctions on North Korea
Washington Post
Carol Morello and Steven Mufson
2016-3-2

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China to halt half of coal imports from North Korea, according to Chinese newspaper

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

Dong-a Ilbo recounts the story from Global Times:

The Chinese government will suspend half of trade with North Korea, China’s official Huanqiu Shibao (Global Times) daily reported Tuesday. It said that China will stop importing North Korean coals, which account for 42.3 percent of the China-North Korea trade, next month. The Huanqiu Shibao is a sister paper of the Renmin Ribao, the organ of the Communist Party of China, with a circulation of 2.4 million copies.

The Huanqiu Shibao quoted a trader in Dandong, Liaoning Province that China’s coal trade with North Korea will be suspended, starting March 1 and that it is probably because of the financial sanctions following the North’s satellite launch. The trader was also quoted as saying that China’s Ministry of Commerce or the customs authorities sent an order to Liaoning Province about the trade ban and that half of China-North Korea trade will be halted.

The trade also stressed that while the China-North Korea trade will likely recover from May, it depends on Pyongyang’s attitude. An informed source on China-North Korea trade also told the Dong-A Ilbo in a telephone interview that a Chinese businessman attempted to remit cash to the North via a Chinese bank in Shenyang, Liaoning Province to pay for North Korean iron ores but was informed that he was not allowed to do so. It has yet to be confirmed whether Beijing actually put a ban on imports of North Korean minerals.

Full story here:
China halts half of imports of N. Korean coals
Dong-a Ilbo
2016-02-25

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Progress in North Koreaโ€™s renewable energy production

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

North Korea has announced long-term plans to raise energy production up to 5 million kilowatts (kW) in 30 years utilizing a variety of renewable energy. The plan includes to secure 15 percent of necessary electricity through wind power and to raise renewable energy generation capacity up to 5 million kW by 2044.

The production goal of 5 million kW is an ambitious plan considering North Korea’s total output of the recently constructed Chongchon power plant which took three years to complete and has a total output of 430,000 kW. This plan was revealed by the internal resources of the โ€˜Natural Energy Instituteโ€™ which was established in November 2014 to develop pollution-free energy resources under the instructions of Kim Jong Un.

This renewable energy plan appears as one part of Pyongyangโ€™s active exploration into the development of renewable energy to help resolve the countryโ€™s power shortages, in addition to the current measures of adopting energy resources from Russia and China and construction of large hydroelectric power plants. The plan entails measures to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels such as coal and oil while expanding development of renewable energy resources.

North Korea has promoted various investment and measures to expand the use of renewable energy since Kim Jong Un came to power. First, North Korea enacted the โ€˜Renewable Energy Lawโ€™ to provide legal guarantee for the development and use of renewable energy in August 2013. The law aims to โ€œrevitalize the renewable energy industry to continuously improve the economy and to protect the environment of the homeland.โ€

The Renewable Energy Law consists of six chapters and 46 provisions. The law includes the definition, purpose and basic principle for research, development and use, as well as planning, promotion, and strengthening of material and technical basis of renewable energy. The law also stipulates legal requirements necessary for guidance and control of the renewable energy sector. The law defines renewable energy as energy sources with reduced environmental impact such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and marine energy.

Second, North Korea seems to be making considerable progress in developing its own industry-specific technology. The Green Energy Joint Venture company displayed solar panels at the Pyongyang Autumn International Trade Fair held last year and at the 15th May 21 Architectural Festival, North Korea released the design plans of green homes that utilized solar, wind, and geothermal energy sources. In addition, solar energy-powered buses and small passenger ships were unveiled at the festival.

The Natural Energy Research Institute of the National Academy of Sciences was established in 2013 as a specialized research institute to develop technology for alternative energy resources such as wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, methane hydrate and hydrogen. In 2014, Natural Energy Research Institute Director Lee Myong Son revealed that, โ€œamong the wind turbine currently in use, 71.4 percent are in the 300w range while 28.6 percent are above that range,โ€ indicating that most products used in solar and wind power generation are domestically produced.

In addition, North Korea established the Kwangmyong LED and Solar Cell Factory to domestically produce solar energy products. Since the enactment of the โ€˜Energy Management Lawโ€™ in 1998, North Korea has placed the development of wind, solar, tidal, biomass, fuel cell power as a top research priority and appears to have made considerable advancement over the years.

 

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