New Kim Jong-il statue at MSS/SSD headquarters

October 3rd, 2012

KCNA ran the following headline on 2012-10-2: “Statue of Generalissimo Kim Jong Il Erected at KPA Unit [10215]“.

According to Ken Gause, KPA Unit 10215 is the military cover designation of the 국가안전보위부 — the Ministry of State Security (MSS) [a.k.a. State Security Department (SSD), National Security Agency (NSA), State Political Security Department (SPSD)].

Checking the Google Earth imagery, we can in fact see the statue under construction at the MSS headquarters in front of the General Bureau Building.

Pictured above (Google Earth:  39.074311°, 125.767690°): Tarps covering the newly unveiled Kim Jong-il statue. Image date: 2012-6-20.

You can see a video of the unveiling on North Korean television below. This is the first time, of which I am aware, that the MSS headquarters has been shown on television:

(UPDATE) NK Leadership Watch also covered the unveiling and provides additional information.

In related news, the Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung statues on Mansu Hill have been covered up for renovations. In his latest at 38 North, Ruediger Frank also publishes a photo.

All images of the Kims are produced by the Mansudae Art Studio in Phyongchon District, Pyongyang.

Share

Some food, inflation, and trade data

October 2nd, 2012

These are all interesting data points. Do you think they offer reasonable journalistic evidence that the DPRK is practicing inflationary public finance?

First, Yonhap reports on DPRK food imports from China (2012-9-29):

North Korea’s grain imports from China slipped 16.3 percent on year in the first eight months of this year, in an apparent sign that the North may diversify its supply channels of grain, a Seoul researcher said Saturday.

North Korea imported 181,264 tons of rice, flour, corn and other grains from China in the eight-month period, compared with 216,535 tons for the same period last year, said Kwon Tae-jin of the state-run Korea Rural Economic Institute.

The decline in grain imports from China may be attributed to a rise in food aid from China and purchases from non-China markets such as Europe and South America, Kwon said.

“Including imports from non-China markets, North Korea’s total grain imports appeared to rise this year,” Kwon said in a report posted on his Web site, adding Pyongyang may “diversify its import channels.”

At the same time the Daily NK reports that food prices continue to rise (2012-10-2):

Internal sources informed Daily NK over the holiday that on September 29th the price of rice was 6,700 won/kg in Pyongyang, 7,000 won/kg in Onsung, North Hamkyung Province and 6,500 won/kg further west in Hyesan, Yangkang Province.

Not only do these prices far exceed those of Chuseok 2011, they even far exceed those of earlier this year.

The Hyesan source explained that on the day before the Chuseok holiday (Saturday) the atmosphere in the market was thus rather uncomfortable. “It was very slack,” she said. “People couldn’t buy anything easily, so most just seemed to be looking.”

Secondly, Yonhap reports that despite situations like those experienced by Xiyang or in Musan, mineral exports to China are up (2012-10-2):

North Korea’s exports of mineral resources recorded a 33-fold jump over the past decade with China remaining the biggest importer of the North’s iron ore and coal, a report showed Tuesday.

North Korea’s mineral exports stood at a meager US$50 million in 2001, accounting for 7.8 percent of its total exports, according to the report by Seoul’s Korea Trade and Investment Promotion Agency.

The mineral exports soared to $243 million in 2005 and $1.65 billion in 2011, accounting for 59.4 percent of the North’s total exports last year, the report said.

South Korea has estimated the total values of mineral deposits in North Korea at some $6.3 trillion.

Last year, North Korea exported $1.17 billion worth of anthracite coal and $405 million worth of iron ore, with China importing almost 100 percent of anthracite coal and iron ore, it said.

Share

North Korea’s legacy of hyperinflation

September 30th, 2012

Steve Hanke (Johns Hopkins University) posted some information on the Cato Institute blog about the DPRKs legacy of hyperinflation:

North Korea’s communist economic legacy—in addition to starvation—is hyperinflation. North Korea is one of only 40 countries in the world that have experienced hyperinflation. In our recent Cato Working Paper, Nicholas Krus and I concluded that a North Korean episode of hyperinflation occurred from December 2009 to mid-January 2011, with an estimated peak monthly inflation rate of 496 percent, in March 2010. At this rate, prices were doubling every 14.1 days. Alas, the horrors of hyperinflation will linger, generation after generation. What a legacy.

The blog post links to Hanke’s working paper, “World Hyperinflations”. A PDF table can be seen here.

Share

Explaining North Korean Migration to China

September 30th, 2012

The Wilson Center’s North Korea International Documentation Project (NKIDP) is pleased to announce the release of e-Dossier No. 11, “Explaining North Korean Migration to China.”

The North Korea/China border region is often portrayed as a place of recent North Korean migration that started in the wake of famine of the early 1990s. This common knowledge is, however, only partially true and obscures as much as it illuminates: It ignores and is ignorant of the pre-existing fluidity of legal and illegal migration between the northern DPRK and the northern provinces of China. Importantly, the dominant narrative fails to understand that what was very new about the 1990s was not inter-country migration itself but the reversal of migration flow patterns. Prior to the 1990s, migration between the two countries was mainly a one-way traffic of ethnic Koreans of Chinese nationality heading south towards North Korea.

NKIDP e-Dossier no. 11, “Explaining North Korean Migration to China,” is introduced by Hazel Smith, Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow and Professor in Humanitarianism and Security at Cranfield University, and features 11 translated Chinese documents which provide evidence of historical cases of legal and illegal migration between the DPRK and China.

For more information, click here.

Share

DPRK investment seminars

September 27th, 2012

Back in March 2011, KCNA posted this video clip to their web page:

Unfortunately for the North Koreans, actions speak louder than words.

The North Koreans appear to be worried that the unwanted attention brought about by the Xiyang story will have a negative effect on investment in the country’s special economic zones along the Chinese border. In order to combat these growing negative perceptions among Chinese investors, the North Koreans have begun holding a series of invitation-only seminars to tout the benefits of investing in Hwanggumphyong and Rason.

Here is coverage of the seminar in the Global Times (PRC) of the most recent seminar:

The officials told Chinese investors attending a seminar in Beijing that North Korea will allow the Chinese yuan to be used in business transactions, offer tax incentives to targeted industries and ease visa requirements.

North Korea is hoping to spur development of the Hwanggumpyong and the Wihwa Islands, two special economic zones on the Yalu River, which also runs through the Chinese border city of Dandong, Liaoning Province, reported the Beijing News. Favorable policies regarding the Rason Economic Trade Zone, which is closer to Jilin Province, were also discussed.

A North Korean official told the seminar that his country hopes to transform the economic zones into “world-class business districts.”

More than 200 Chinese companies, including State-owned enterprises and private corporations, participated in the seminar.

China’s Vice-Minister of Commerce Chen Jian said cooperation between China and North Korea on the development of the new economic zones is going smoothly.

Despite the enthusiasm from officials on both sides, entrepreneurs expressed concern over the veracity of the country’s legal framework needed to protect their investment.

“North Korea has significant iron ore and coal reserves, but I wouldn’t rush to invest unless I am sure it can be protected by their law,” a Chinese mining entrepreneur who requested anonymity told the Global Times.

The Daily NK provides additional details:

What the People’s Daily article did do was make clear how the two sides foresee the function of the SEZ areas. Rasun, it said, “will focus on the development of raw materials, equipment, high tech products, light industry, the service sector and modern agriculture.” Conversely, Hwanggeumpyong and Wihwa Island “will focus on the development of information industries, tourism, modern agriculture and garment manufacturing.”

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has also moved to back efforts to stimulate interest in the SEZs.

The Hankyoreh offers some additional details on this and previous seminars:

Cars pulled up one after another on Sept. 26 in front of the Bridge Art Center in downtown Beijing, where a big blue sign read “Introduction to the Choson (North Korea) investment environment and counseling on investment areas.” The Chinese corporate executives who stepped out of the vehicles filed into the venue for a briefing on investment in North Korea.

The North Korean Committee for the Promotion of Economic Cooperation and China’s private GBD Public Diplomacy and Culture Exchange Center staged the event over two days in the hope of attracting investment by introducing “promising investment areas” for Chinese entrepreneurs.

The event was invite-only. Attendees walked around the venue, where they were asked not to take pictures. A screen at the front of the conference room displayed videos on the Rason and Hwanggumpyong special economic zones and the tax breaks available to investors. Around 100 Chinese businesspeople sat in their chairs to watch.

At the entrance was a list of around thirty participating North Korean businesses. Many were in areas such as natural resource development (iron and gold mining), seafood farming, and garments. Trade companies also stood out on the list, including the Daesong General Trading Corporation and the Jangsu Trading Company. Thirty-six officials from state-run North Korean businesses provided information about 43 investment projects. The afternoon saw one-on-one talks between North Korean officials and Chinese executives.

A senior official with GBD said hundreds of Chinese businesses would be participating on Sept. 26 and 27.

“There are quite a lot of Chinese businesses interested in investing in North Korea,” the official said.

On the invitations, the organizers touted the investment briefing as an “important opportunity for Chinese businesses to invest in North Korea.”

“Choson’s new leader Kim Jong-un declared that economic development and improving people’s livelihoods are important goals of the Workers’ Party of Korea,” they read.

This is just one of many such briefings that North Korea has organized all over China. On Sept. 7, a counseling session was held in Changchun, Jilin province, for “North Korea Day and China-Choson trade investment projects.” Another investment briefing on Sept. 9 was staged concurrently with the 16th China International Fair for Investment and Trade in Xiamen, Fujian province. A joint China-North Korea economic trade briefing on Oct. 14 in Dandong, Liaoning province, is scheduled to include counseling sessions for the three areas of trade, investment, and labor between 60 North Korean national trade company officials and 100 Chinese businesspeople.

Meanwhile, the Chosun Investment Office of Joint Venture and Investment Committee, North Korea’s body for attracting foreign investment, signed a contract in Beijing on Sept. 22 with China Overseas Investment to set up an exclusive North Korea investment fund of 3 billion RMB, or about US$476 million.

China’s private investors have shown much interest amid signs of change from Pyongyang, but sources said this had not yet led to actual investments.

“In staging investment briefings, North Korea is showing that it has decided on a course of change for the sake of the economy and the public welfare,” said a source in Beijing.

“In China, people have kept asking for Pyongyang to establish more laws and regulations to allay the fears of businesses investing there, so it’s going to take some time to see the kind of investment North Korean really needs for its own economic development beyond things like mining,” the source added.

Reuters also seems to have been invited:

But after listening to a presentation from Chinese and North Korean officials at one of Beijing’s most expensive hotels laying out the supposed allure of the two zones, the head of one company gave an emphatic “no” when asked if she was convinced.

“We’re not thinking about it at the moment,” said Li Guilian, chairwoman of Dalian-based clothing company Dayang Trands. “We might go and have a look at Hwanggumphyong, but I don’t think we’ll invest.”

She nodded her head vigorously when asked if she thought it was risky investing in such an isolated and backward country.

“Investors need first of all to consider the environment. If there’s a problem with the environment, then there’s no way people are going to commit money,” Li told Reuters.

Share

Promoting New Technologies and Inventions at the National Exhibition

September 27th, 2012

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2012-9-27

North Korea is promoting new inventions and technologies with potential to influence the economy and improve the daily lives of the people.

As an extension of that effort, North Korea hosted the 12th National Exhibition of Invention and New Technologies. The KCNA reported on September 19, this exhibition was a meaningful event for promoting intellectual products.

Kim Young-gun, the Commissioner of the National Science and Technology Council said, “One important purpose of the exhibition was to encourage and provide a place for agreements, contracts, and sales between consumers and exhibitors of intellectual products on display.”

He explained, “As a preparatory step, two weeks prior to the exhibition day, we gathered and distributed product and technology proposal information nationwide. We also try to meet the domestic demands and promote distribution of products throughout the country.”

He boasted that the exhibition was a success with over 1,000 orders taken for intellectual products. He also commented that wide varieties of new inventions, with new technologies, were on display and contracts were signed for technology and product development and new inventions.

North Korea established intellectual product regulations with the intention to create an environment favorable for intellectual product distribution and to follow the current trend in science and technology of the international community. North Korea also has a patent and technical literature archives in operation.

North Korea emphasized that this exhibition well displayed the strength and wisdom of the North Korean people in the country’s attempt to rise as a science and technology powerhouse.

North Korea has filed two cases of international patents through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) this year. WIPO has confirmed that one of the patents filed this April was a cast iron welding rod structure used for industrial material while the other patent was still in the filing process and thus could not be disclosed to the public.

North Korea submitted three patent filings in 2007, seven in 2008, and four in 2011.

North Korea became a member of WIPO in 1974 and joined the WIPO Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in 1980.

Share

Koryo Tours visits the Ryugyong Hotel

September 26th, 2012

The most recent Koryo Tours newsletter contains the first photos of the Ryugyong Hotel (inside and from the top)!

See the newsletter here. It contains some useful information on the project:

On Sept 23rd Koryo Tours’ staff were taken to the top of the enigmatic and oddly iconic 105 storey Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang – we were the first foreigners allowed to take pictures there and are able to print a handful of shots of the ground floor and the open air viewing platform more than 300 metres up.

The view was incredible and breathtaking indeed! The inside of the building still has substantial work to be done but the structure of the lobby and dining area and conference room (all on the ground floor) were visible, sources at the site suggest 2 or 3 more years until projected completion at which time hotel rooms, office space, and long term rentals will be available.

Amazing photos!

Koryo Tours also just finished a film in the DPRK: Comrade Kim Goes Flying.

You too can join the Koryo Tours email list by sending them your contact info: info@koryogroup.com

Share

6th session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly

September 25th, 2012

Pictured Above (Google Earth): The Mansudae Assembly Hall, meeting place of the Supreme People’s Assembly. To the east of the Hall is the new Peoples’ Theater and new housing apartments along Changjon and Mansudae Streets.

A rare “second session” of the DPRK’s Supreme People’s Assembly was held on September 25th. The unicameral legislature, with little de facto authority, usually holds a single meeting in April of each year. The last special “second session” was held in June 2010 (see below for more information).

This 6th session of the SPA was widely anticipated outside the DPRK because many analysts believed the country would be announcing a plethora of economic adjustment measures. See here for background. None of this was discussed publicly.

Here is KCNA coverage of the session:

Sixth Session of 12th SPA Held

Pyongyang, September 25 (KCNA) — The Sixth Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK was held at the Mansudae Assembly Hall Tuesday.

Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, first chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, was present at the session.

Deputies to the SPA were present there.

Officials of party, armed forces and power bodies, public organizations, ministries and national institutions and those in the fields of science, education, literature and arts, public health and press were present as observers.

The session decided on agenda items of the session.

On Enforcing Universal 12-Year Compulsory Education

Organizational Issue

Deputy Choe Thae Bok made a report “On Enforcing Universal 12-Year Compulsory Education.”

He said that the DPRK government will enforce the universal 12-year compulsory education to drastically improve and strengthen the secondary general education and further consolidate the socialist education system to meet the requirements of the developing revolution and the times.

The new educational system is aimed at helping the younger generation round off the secondary general education by teaching them general basic knowledge and basic knowledge of modern technologies in the period of the 12-year systematic education which consists of one-year pre-school education, five-year primary school education, three-year junior middle school education and three-year senior middle school education, reporter noted.

He referred to the issues arising in successfully enforcing the new education.

Then followed speeches.

The speakers said that the enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education at this significant period when the new century of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il’s Korea started is the firm determination and will of the WPK to steadfastly carry forward and glorify the idea and cause of Generalissimos Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il who devoted their all to the future of the country all their life.

The enforcement of the new education provided a sure guarantee for putting secondary general education onto a higher stage and effecting an epochal turn in the work to train able revolutionaries in keeping with the requirements for the building of a thriving nation, they noted.

Ordinance of the SPA of the DPRK “On Enforcing the Universal 12-Year Compulsory Education” was adopted at the session.

The session discussed organizational issue.

Hong In Bom, chief secretary of the South Phyongan Provincial Committee of the WPK, and Jon Yong Nam, chairman of the Central Committee of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League, were elected members of the SPA Presidium to fill the vacancies.

Choe Hui Jong was recalled from the post of chairman of the Budget Committee of the SPA and Kwak Pom Gi elected chairman of the budget committee.

Issues Concerning Enforcement of Universal 12-year Compulsory Education Discussed at SPA Session

Pyongyang, September 25 (KCNA) — Deputy Choe Thae Bok made a report on enforcing the universal 12-year compulsory education at the sixth session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK held on Tuesday.

According to the report, the DPRK government will enforce the universal 12-year compulsory education to drastically improve and strengthen the secondary general education and further consolidate the socialist education system to meet the requirements of the developing revolution and the times.

The universal 12-year compulsory education represents the development of the universal 11-year compulsory education that has been enforced by the DPRK government, and a new higher stage of the secondary general education.

The new education system is aimed at helping the younger generation round off the secondary general education by teaching them general basic knowledge and basic knowledge of modern technologies in the period of the 12-year systematic education which consists of one-year pre-school education, five-year primary school education, three-year junior middle school education and three-year senior middle school education.

The reporter said that the enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education is a huge task to be carried out as a nationwide movement with the involvement of whole society. He elaborated on it.

The order and phases for the enforcement of the system shall be fixed properly and be thoroughly carried out, he said.

An important task for enforcing the universal 12-year compulsory education is to properly shape the educational contents and improve the methods of education, he added.

He called for stepping up the work for improving the curricula which constitute a basis in arranging the educational contents, and confirming the general goal of the secondary general education, goals of the courses of study and the scope and level of educational contents. He also underscored the need to write and publish necessary textbooks at an early date.

He also underlined the need to strengthen education in computer technology and foreign languages with a main emphasis on the education in general basic knowledge in the field of basic sciences including mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology.

He also called for kicking off an intensive drive for creating new and substantial educational methods and generalizing them as well as actively introducing test methods for correctly assessing the abilities of students.

All the schools should carry out the positive drive to put the teaching, experiments and practical training on an IT basis, computerize the educational administration and management and establish information communications network between the education committee and educational institutions across the country so that teachers and students can receive information necessary for the education in time, the reporter noted.

He also called for successfully building up in a substantial way the ranks of teachers who are directly responsible for education and drastically raising their levels and roles.

Increased state investment in the educational field and provision of educational conditions are a sure guarantee for the successful enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education, he said, and continued:

The expenditure for education should be markedly increased in the state budget, and electricity, equipment and materials needed for education be provided on a preferential basis.

The role of organizations patronizing schools should be raised and the officials of all units including provincial, city and county people’s committees should pay deep attention to the education and push forward the work for the enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education in close combination with the model education county movement.

Educational and scientific research institutions should strengthen study for raising the quality of the universal 12-year compulsory education on the basis of a correct review and analysis of the present state of education of the country and the worldwide education trend. They should analyze and systematize scientifically and theoretically the new and advanced teaching methods and experience created in practice and generalize them.

The reporter stressed the need to step up the work for successfully enforcing the universal 12-year compulsory education true to the noble intention of the dear respected Kim Jong Un manifested in his ardent love for the younger generation and the future.

Ordinance of DPRK SPA on Enforcing Universal 12-Year Compulsory Education Promulgated

Pyongyang, September 25 (KCNA) — Ordinance of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly on enforcing universal 12-year compulsory education was promulgated at the sixth session of the 12th SPA held in Pyongyang Tuesday.

According to the ordinance, the DPRK government enforced the compulsory primary education in 1956, compulsory secondary education in 1958 and Korean-style unique universal 9-year compulsory technical education which closely combined secondary general education with basic technical education and education with production in 1967.

In 1972 the DPRK government introduced the universal 11-year compulsory education, the first of its kind in the world.

The enforcement of the universal 11-year education was a just measure for raising the level of free compulsory education, improving the contents of education and bringing up the new generations to be able revolutionaries and competent socialist builders intensely loyal to the party, the leader, the country and its people as required by the era and the developing revolution.

The DPRK is now demonstrating its might as a dignified military power possessed of nuclear deterrent, a country that manufactures and launches satellites. Korean-style CNC technology and flexible production system have been introduced to the different domains of the national economy and a great number of Juche-based and modern heavy and light industrial bases and grand monuments have been built. This is associated with the feats and merits of young scientists and youth who have grown up, receiving the universal 11-year compulsory education.

The Workers’ Party of Korea and the DPRK government are set to enforce the universal 12-year compulsory education reflecting the present requirements for building a prosperous socialist country in all fields now that the requirements for education have risen higher than ever before.

The enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education is a step reflecting the dear respected Kim Jong Un’s noble outlooks on the country, the younger generation and future and it is a great event that demonstrates before the whole world that the DPRK is dynamically advancing toward an educational power and a highly civilized socialist country.

The universal 12-year compulsory education is the most just and advantageous education for drastically raising the quality of education to meet the requirements for the development of education in the age of knowledge-based economy and the trend of the world and bringing up the younger generation to be Juche-type able revolutionaries possessed of ample secondary general knowledge, modern basic technology and creative ability.

The SPA of the DPRK discussed the issue of enforcing the universal 12-year compulsory education and made a decision.

According to the decision, the universal 12-year compulsory education shall be enforced in all areas of the DPRK.

The universal 12-year compulsory education shall be enforced free of charge and all children from 5 to 17 years are obliged to receive this education.

This education consists of one-year pre-school education and five-year primary schooling, three-year junior middle schooling and three-year senior middle schooling.

The six-year middle schooling shall be enforced from the 2013-2014 school year, divided into three-year junior middle schooling and three-year senior middle schooling.

The work for converting the four-year primary schooling to five-year primary schooling shall go through the preparatory phase to be started in the 2014-2015 school year and this shall be finished in 2-3 years.

Educational system and education of special courses of study shall be decided as separate issues.

Measures shall be taken to solve the shortage of teachers resulting from the enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education, raise their qualifications and improve educational methods.

State investment in education shall be increased and conditions and environment necessary for the enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education be created.

Administrative guidance and legal control shall be strengthened for the successful enforcement of the universal 12-year compulsory education.

Here is additional coverage of the session by various outlets:

1. The Daily NK got the scoop on the education reform.

2. Yonhap coverage here and here.

3. Evan Ramstad at the Wall Street Journal.

4. Carol Williams at the Los Angeles Times.

5. NK Leadership Watch.

6. NK News.

Additional Information:

1. 5th Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly (regular session: 2012-4)

2. 4th Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly (regular session: 2011-4)

3. 3rd Session  of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly (extra session: 2010-6): KCNA 1KCNA 2KCNA 3KCNA 4KCNA 5KCNA 6KCNA 7KCNA 8herehere, and here.

4. 2nd Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly (regular session: 2010-4): KCNA 1,KCNA 2,  here, and here.

5. 1st Session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly (regular session: 2009-4):  KCNA and here.

6. Elections for the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly were held in March 2009. See hereherehere.

7. Previous posts on the Supreme People’s Assembly

Share

UNDP wind power project

September 24th, 2012

According to the UNDP (2012-9-24):

In Hanchon, a district in Pyongwon county of South Pyongan province, the small wind energy project team visited the houses of two farmers Mr. Ri Chum Uk and Mr. Kin Yong Ki, who have had wind turbines installed inside their homes. These are small wind turbines, 5 metres high with 300 Watts of installed capacity charging individual 12 volts batteries. With it the farmer says he can operate such electric items as 2 bulbs, a TV, a DVD or a karaoke system with amplifier.

When asked, the two farmers each explained that they had paid $150 for the wind turbine, and spent $5.00 on annual maintenance cost. This info was not independently verified.To charge a full battery takes between 4 to 6 hours and can last about 7 days, depending upon the wind speed and the state of the battery. In the village, it seems that one or two neighbours can each bring their battery to get it charged at Mr. Ri or Mr. Kim’s house.

When asked “what did they like the best with this admittedly small improvement“, both replied; “to have electricity when I want it”.

In this county alone, according to the local county manager, 100 turbines were installed in people’s households and in farm offices, made in the Daily Necessities Factory in the adjacent county of Sukchon. Mr. Kim Ryong Kuk, the manager of the Factory explained that almost once every quarter, he or his colleagues were observing almost 60 turbines in order to get feedback from clients. All users receive training during installation by the manufacturer. Batteries are made locally or in China.

The role of UNDP’s small wind energy project is to promote and diffuse this green technology by improving quality standards and guidelines and demonstrating best practices for households along with social buildings to directly improve people’s energy status in concrete ways.

These types of projects aim to provide support to rural populations in concrete ways. I have no doubt that there will be many obstacles along the way but I feel that we can overcome them in time and in the process improve peoples’ lives.On another day, we went to Pyongsong city to see a larger Mast (10 Kilo Watts) and a solar panel in full use at the County Hospital. We could see how the staffs were strategic in their use of the renewable energy to conduct operations and obstetric aid in emergency cases during electricity cuts; the wind turbine is backing up the work of two operation rooms and two emergency rooms. When looking through the door of one emergency room, the surgeon, operating on a young boy’s leg, saw me and pointed at the light overhead appreciatively. The whole package of a 5 kW wind turbine and a solar panel is $30,000.

These types of projects aim to provide support to rural populations in concrete ways. I have no doubt that there will be many obstacles along the way but I feel that we can overcome them in time and in the process improve peoples’ lives.

Share

DPRK – Russia trade grows

September 22nd, 2012

According to Yonhap:

Bilateral trade between North Korea and its ally Russia surged nearly 50 percent from a year earlier in the first half, a report said Saturday.

According to the report from Seoul’s state-run Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), the amount of bilateral trade between the two countries in the January-June period came to US$38.8 million, up 49 percent from the same period last year.

The report, however, noted such a large on-year increase was due to a large drop posted in the first half of 2011.

“The volume of bilateral trade between North Korea and Russia is still insignificant by any standard,” it said.

The increase was also caused by a 68.3 percent rise in shipments of Russian goods to North Korea with fuel and steel products accounting for 29.9 percent and 28.7 percent of total shipments, respectively.

North Korea’s exports to Russia dropped 10.9 percent on-year to $5.4 million, according to the KOTRA report.

Here are some previous posts on this topic:
1. Lankov on DPRK-Russia trade (2012-9-18).
2. Russia reported to forgive DPRK debt (again)
3. KOTRA numbers from June
4. Lankov on DPRK-Russia ties (2011-9-25)

Read the full story here:
Trade between N. Korea, Russia surges 50 pct in H1
Yonhap
2012-9-22

Share