Archive for the ‘Biotech’ Category

Areas for Inter-Korean cooperation

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

According to Yonhap:

The latest “Issue and Policy” report by the Science and Technology Policy Institute said North Korea has traditionally been strong in the polymer chemistry and single carbon material sectors, as well as in such biotech areas as animal cloning. It has also been competitive in nano science, mathematics, nuclear technology and missiles.

The report added that Pyongyang has in recent years built up its competitive knowhow in software, including the Linux computer operating system, as part of efforts to use science and engineering to bolster economic growth.

The communist country operates the Korean Computer Center and Pyongyang Information Center dedicated to improving the country’s software infrastructure.

“Cooperation can take place in relatively new fields such as nanotech, biology and chemistry where North Korea has traditionally been strong,” the report said.

The latest findings, however, said that because there are differences in the quality of research conducted by engineers and scientists from the two countries, cooperation should take place in stages.

In the report, the think tank recommended that South Korea first provide assistance to upgrade North Korea’s laboratory equipment and help train experts. After making inroads into these areas, Seoul can move to carry out full-fledged joint research and open laboratories where scientists from both countries can work together, the report said.

Read the full story here:
Two Koreas can cooperate in chemistry, biotech and nano science: report


Download glitch fixed: North Korea Google Earth (version 11)

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

The most authoritative map of North Korea on Google Earth
Download it here

This map covers North Korea’s agriculture, aviation, cultural locations, markets, manufacturing facilities, railroad, energy infrastructure, politics, sports venues, military establishments, religious facilities, leisure destinations, and national parks. It is continually expanding and undergoing revisions. This is the eleventh version.

Additions include: Mt. Paegun’s Ryonghung Temple and resort homes, Pyongyang’s Chongryu Restaurant, Swiss Development Agency (former UNDP office), Iranian Embassy, White Tiger Art Studio, KITC Store, Kumgangsan Store, Pyongyang Fried Chicken Restaurant, Kilju’s Pulp Factory (Paper), Kim Chaek Steel Mill, Chongjin Munitions Factory, Poogin Coal Mine, Ryongwun-ri cooperative farm, Thonggun Pavilion (Uiju), Chinju Temple (Yongbyon), Kim il Sung Revolutionary Museum (Pyongsong), Hamhung Zoo, Rajin electrified perimeter fence, Pyongsong market (North Korea’s largest), Sakju Recreation Center, Hoeryong Maternity Hospital, Sariwon Suwon reservoir (alleged site of US massacre), Sinpyong Resting Place, 700 Ridges Pavilion, Academy of Science, Hamhung Museum of the Revolutionary Activities of Comrade Kim Il Sung, South Hamgyong House of Culture, Hamhung Royal Villa, Pork Chop Hill, and Pyongyang’s Olympic torch route. Additional thanks go to Martyn Williams for expanding the electricity grid, particularly in Samjiyon, and various others who have contributed time improving this project since its launch.

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the authenticity of many locations since I have not seen or been to them, but great efforts have been made to check for authenticity. These efforts include pouring over books, maps, conducting interviews, and keeping up with other peoples’ discoveries. In many cases, I have posted sources, though not for all. This is a thorough compilation of lots of material, but I will leave it up to the reader to make up their own minds as to what they see. I cannot catch everything and I welcome contributions.  Additionally, this file is getting large and may take some time to load.


North Korea Uncovered v.4 on Google Earth

Wednesday, August 29th, 2007

The most authoritative, publicly available map of North Korea
Version 4: August 29, 2007

Download it here 

This map covers North Korea’s agriculture, aviation, cultural locations, manufacturing facilities, railroad, energy infrastructure, politics, sports venues, military establishments, religious facilities, leisure destinations, and national parks. It is continually expanding and undergoing revisions. This is the fourth version.

Additions to the latest version of “North Korea Uncovered” include the city of Manpo along the Chinese border, KEDO, Kumgang Resort expansion, Kaesong Industrial Zone, as well as a few more parks, antiaircraft sites, dams, mines, canals, etc. I have also added more links in the menu which will tell the viewer a bit about the locations themselves. I have also changed the color scheme to make the collage easier to view.

Disclaimer: I cannot vouch for the authenticity of many locations since I have not seen or been to them, but great efforts have been made to check for authenticity. These efforts include pouring over books, maps, conducting interviews, and keeping up with other peoples’ discoveries. In many cases, I have posted sources, though not for all. This is a thorough compilation of lots of material, but I will leave it up to the reader to make up their own minds as to what they see. I cannot catch everything and I welcome contributions.

I hope this map will increase interest in North Korea. There is still plenty more to learn, and I look forward to receiving your additions to this project.


New Method of Breeding Terrapins Developed

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007


Scientists in the Zoological Institute of the Branch Academy of Biology under the DPRK State Academy of Sciences have proved successful in research into the artificial breeding of terrapins.

The terrapin is efficacious for weaklings and for the treatment of circulatory troubles. The new method shortens the growth period of terrapins to one fourth.

At the end of several-year experiments, they found out raw materials of assorted feed needed for the rapid growth of terrapins and their composition rate, and an effective method for reducing incubation duration by more than ten days compared with the natural conditions.

The productivity of the male terrapins is higher than that of the females. They, basing themselves on this, developed a technique by which they can control the rate of female and male freely.

The scientists also redesigned structures of the terrapin breeding farm to suit the habitation of the terrapins so as to make them grow healthily.


DPRK joint editorial 2007

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Every January 1, three leading DPRK publications (Rodong Sinmun, Josoninmingun and Chongnyonjonwi ) issue a “joint editorial” that is the North Korean equivalent of the “State of the Union Address”…So here are some excerpts from 2007:

Usher In a Great Heyday of Songun Korea Full of Confidence in Victory


A worthwhile advance has begun in the country at the hope-filled New Year.

Last year, 2006, was adorned as a year of great victory, a year of exciting events, in which the dawn of a great, prosperous and powerful socialist nation was ushered in.

Cheers over the victorious Songun idea and politics resounded all over the land last year.

The invincibility and rosy future of the Korean revolution rest on Songun. The army and people of Korea, under the unfurled banner of Songun, have won victory after victory in the showdown with the United States and in safeguarding socialism, and consolidated their self-defensive capabilities for the supreme interests of their country and the destiny of their nation.

That we have come to possess a nuclear deterrent was an auspicious event in the national history, realization of our people’s centuries-long desire to have a national strength no one could dare challenge. Last year’s victory testifies that our army and people were right out and out to have invariably followed the road of Songun over the past 10-odd years in the face of severest trials.

Last year was a year filled with pride, a year in which an epoch-making phase was opened for the building of a great, prosperous and powerful nation.

Gaining great confidence from the dawn of victory ushered in by the Party, our servicepersons and people waged a heroic struggle and thus achieved brilliant successes in all fields. In the tempest of the general advance of Songun revolution, the single-hearted unity of the servicepersons and people around the leadership of the revolution was consolidated in every way possible, and a springboard for a fresh leap forward in economic construction was secured.

Last year witnessed successes indicative of the resourcefulness and superiority of our nation.

Our scientists and technicians, with burning revolutionary enthusiasm and creative talent, performed exploits noteworthy in history–they broke fresh ground for the cutting-edge science and technology and consolidated the country’s strength. Our proud sportspersons achieved outstanding successes in women’s football and other international sports games, displaying to the full the mettle of the nation and bringing a great joy and encouragement to our servicepersons and people. Masterpieces demonstrating the new looks of art and literature of the Songun era were created, and traditions and customs unique to the nation greeted further efflorescence in all domains of social life.

The fact that 2006 was adorned with successes and exploits worthy of recording in the annals of our revolution and nation is a demonstration of the sagacity of our Party’s leadership.

Our Party steadfastly maintained its independent and principled stand even in the trying situation in which the country’s security faced grave challenges, and led the entire Party, the whole country and all the people confidently to a general advance for a fresh leap forward. The leadership of respected Kim Jong Il, who, by dint of correct strategy and tactics, art of outstanding leadership, and unexcelled courage and pluck, coped with the encountering challenges and turned unfavourable circumstances into favourable ones, was a decisive factor in all successes and miraculous events.

On the road of his tireless Songun-based leadership, the overall strength of our nation was remarkably consolidated and the day of a great, prosperous and powerful nation has dawned. The grand celebration last year of the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Down-with-Imperialism Union was a proud display of the fact that continuity of the Korean revolution is definitely assured by Kim Jong Il.

The true record of revolutionary activities of respected Kim Jong Il and his imperishable historical exploits of having raised the position of socialist Korea to a highest level by braving all manner of difficulties in the van holding aloft the great banner of Songun, and adorned the year 2006 as a most glorious year in the history of the building of a Juche-oriented great, prosperous and powerful country, will be handed down to posterity.

The year 2007 will be a year of great changes, a year which will usher in a new era of prosperity of Songun Korea.

Kim Jong Il said:

“It is an unshakable determination of our Party and unanimous desire of our army and people to demonstrate to the whole world the dignity of the nation by building on this land a great, prosperous and powerful socialist country which embodies the Juche idea in an all-round way.”

This year we are greeting the 95th birthday anniversary of President Kim Il Sung as a grand national event.

Kim Il Sung is the founder of socialist Korea, and the eternal Sun of Juche in the cause of the masses for their independence. The glorious history of victorious advance of our socialist Korea and today’s prosperity of Songun Korea, which is demonstrating its dignity to the whole world, are associated with his august name. We must make this year a year of greater efflorescence of his wish for a prosperous and powerful country, a year of brisk activities across the country.

The sacred revolutionary career of Kim Il Sung is a history of Songun-based leadership in that he devoted his greatest effort to the strengthening of the country’s military capabilities. We must celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army as an all-people event that demonstrates the invincibility and bright future of the Songun revolution.

Our revolution which started under the banner of the great Juche idea, Songun idea, has greeted a new historic phase. The present new era is a worthwhile era of ushering in an all-round efflorescence of national prosperity on the basis of the victories and success of the Songun revolution registered in the history of the nation. We have the great guiding ideology, invincible single-hearted unity and powerful war deterrent tempered in the flames of the Songun revolution. The present reality, in which all conditions for leaping higher and faster are created, demands that we launch the revolutionary advance more vigorously to achieve the high objectives of the building of a great, prosperous and powerful socialist nation.

“Usher in a great heyday of Songun Korea full of confidence in victory!”–this is a slogan we should hold in struggle and advance.

We should wage a dynamic offensive campaign to build a socialist economic power.

Building an economic power is an urgent demand of our revolution and social development at present times and a worthwhile and historic cause of perfecting the looks of a great, prosperous and powerful nation. We should concentrate national efforts on solving economic problems, so as to turn Songun Korea into a prospering people’s paradise.

The main task in the present general march is to direct primary effort to rapidly improving the people’s standard of living and at the same time to step up technical reconstruction to put our economy on a modern footing and display its potentials to the full.

We should brilliantly realize the noble intention and plan of our Party, which regards the improvement of the people’s standard of living as the supreme principle in its activities.

We should, as in the past, keep up farming as the great foundation of the country and make an epoch-making advance in solving the problem of food for the people. The officials and working people in the agricultural sector should fully discharge their responsibility and role as masters in implementing the Party’s policy on making a revolution in agriculture, and bend a dynamic effort to doing farm work on their own.

We should decisively improve the production of consumer goods by waging a revolution in light industry. We should run light-industry and local-industry factories at full capacity and steadily increase the variety and quality of consumer goods by tapping to the maximum the latent resources and potentials in all sectors of the national economy. We should ensure that the bases of stockbreeding, fish farming and production of primary seasoning built through much effort prove effective so that the people can enjoy their benefit. We should continuously improve distribution of commodities and service work as required by the intrinsic nature of a socialist society and thus evenly provide the people with essential consumer goods of high quality. The officials of all units should pay close attention to supply service work for their employees. The public health sector should implement the Party’s policy on public health to ensure that the people can enjoy more benefit of the socialist health care system.

Power, coal-mining and metal industries and rail transport, the four vanguards of the national economy, must take the lead in building an economic power. Bearing deep in mind a high sense of responsibility they have assumed in the building of an economic power, the officials in the power and coal-mining industries should decisively ease the strain on electricity and coal. The sector of metal industry should increase the production of iron and steel by consolidating its Juche character and accelerating technical reconstruction. The sector of rail transport should fully meet the ever-growing demand for transport through efficient organization and command and iron discipline and order. National efforts should be geared to bolstering up the four vanguard sectors with the whole country engaged in giving an active assistance to them.

With a foresight into the distant future of economic development, we should give priority to geological prospecting, develop energy and other resources under a long-range programme, and treasure and protect the country’s resources as best as we can. Mining, machine-building, chemical, building-materials and forestry sectors should make steady efforts to revitalize their production.

Monumental edifices and other major projects of the Songun era should be built on the quality-first principle as required by the new century. The building sector should observe technical regulations and apply standard building methods in construction, and make buildings formative and artistic.

Cities, including Pyongyang, and rural villages across the country should be built up as required by the Songun era and land administration should be undertaken efficiently, to turn the country into a socialist fairyland.

The Juche-oriented idea, theory and policy of our Party on the economy are a definite guideline in the construction of an economic power. We should solve all problems arising in improving the economic work and the people’s standard of living on the basis of our Party’s idea and theory on the economy, which reflect the requirements of the Songun era, the IT era.

We should run the economy by our own efforts, our own technology and our own resources with a determination that we must build a socialist paradise by ourselves. We should make the most of the solid foundations of production and potentials existing in all sectors of the national economy. We should smash the imperialists’ despicable schemes for sanctions and blockade by dint of strong self-respect and pluck.

Thoroughgoing implementation of the Party’s policy of attaching importance to science and technology is a sure guarantee for the construction of an economic power. Latest science and technology, combined with the great revolutionary ideas of our Party, will bring about startling changes. All sectors and units should put themselves on a modern footing by drawing on the latest science and technology. Scientists and technicians should develop the cutting-edge science and technology in a short span of time in the revolutionary spirit of soldiers and in their way of work, so as to definitely guarantee the building of a great, prosperous and powerful nation by means of science and technology. All sectors and units should bring science and technology close to production, and unfold a mass drive for technical innovation.

We should undertake technical upgrading of the national economy, production and management activities by the method of motivating competent scientists and technicians. Effort should be channelled to education, so as to train in a great number talented people who will shoulder the building of a great, prosperous and powerful nation.

Holding aloft the banner of Songun, we should continuously exert a great effort to strengthening the defence capabilities.

Songun is the life and soul of our country and people and the dignity of our nation. In the future, too, we must hold fast to the Juche-based Songun idea and line as an invariable guiding principle of the Party and the revolution. We must never forget the trying days when we had to defend the lifeline of socialist Korea with a do-or-die determination, and defend the achievements of the Songun revolution gained at the cost of blood.

The People’s Army that constitutes the key force in the independent defence capabilities should be steadily strengthened politically and ideologically, militarily and technically.

It is the pillar of the socialist military power and the strong vanguard for national prosperity.

It should make a sweeping turn in its efforts for combat readiness and efficiency this year marking the 75th anniversary of its founding, so as to continually brighten its glorious history and tradition as an elite revolutionary army that has won victory after victory under the command of the generals of Mt. Paektu.

The patriotic zeal and militant mettle of the People’s Army should be given full play in the place of the Party’s concern, the forefront of socialist economic construction. The men and officers of the People’s Army must give full scope to their revolutionary soldier spirit, the might of which has been tempered in the crucible of the Songun-based revolution, exalting their honour as the major driving force of the Songun-based revolution in the struggle for national prosperity and people’s welfare.

It is important to develop rock-solid our great army-people unity, the first of its kind in the world. The climate of people supporting the army and the latter helping the former and the oneness of army and people in terms of ideology and fighting spirit should be promoted. Constant importance should be attached to the military affairs so that all the people would acquire military knowledge and the entire country be turned into an impregnable fortress. Primary efforts should be concentrated on the development of munitions industry for steady consolidation of the material foundations of our military capabilities.

We should strengthen in every way the unity of revolutionary ranks in ideology and purpose, so as to demonstrate the might of our country as a political and ideological power.

The revolutionary leadership is the centre of unity, centre of leadership, and also the symbol of strength and dignity of Songun Korea. The whole Party, the entire army and all the people should loyally uphold the idea and guidance of the leadership, cherishing an unshakable spirit of defending their leader at all costs. They should all become ardent fighters, who trust and follow only their leader and share his idea, purpose and destiny on the road of arduous struggle for accomplishing the Juche-oriented revolutionary cause.

Socialist construction advances amidst sharp class struggle. We should deal a merciless blow to the enemy’s psychological warfare and their attempt for ideological and cultural infiltration aimed at undermining socialism of our own style from within. The revolutionary principle, the principle of the working class, should be strictly maintained in all fields of the revolution and construction.

The present stirring situation demands that a radical innovation be made in ideological education. We should get rid of formalism and stereotype in ideological work, to conduct all types of ideological work in a novel manner as required by the Songun era. Positive examples manifested among Party members and other working people should be found out and given wide publicity. Art and literary works, mass media and all other information and motivational means should be enlisted in aggressive ideological education.

A decisive guarantee for victory in this year’s campaign is in undertaking the organizational and political work and command in a revolutionary way, arousing the entire Party, the whole country and all the people to the general advance for the thriving country.

The Party should be strengthened, and the militant role of Party organizations enhanced continuously.

The entire Party should display to the full a strong sense of organization and discipline by which it moves as one in accordance with the ideas and intention of its leader.

Our Party is a party striving to build a great, prosperous and powerful nation, and a mother party that serves the people. All Party organizations, in line with the mission of our Party and its fighting objectives, should gear their work to bringing about radical innovations in economic work and improving the people’s standard of living.

To work miracles and make innovations in this year’s general advance, Party organizations at all levels should conduct the Three-Revolution Red Flag Movement as the work of Party committees and push ahead with the movement by motivating the working people’s organizations.

It is important to develop a higher sense of responsibility among the officials of economic institutions, including the Cabinet, and enhance their role in bringing about a fresh turn in the building of a great, prosperous and powerful socialist nation.

The Cabinet should carry on economic operation and management in a responsible manner with strategic insight in conformity with its important position and mission to steer the socialist economic construction.

This year’s general advance is calling on young people to make unprecedentedly heroic efforts and perform great feats.

They are masters of a great, prosperous and powerful nation of the future and the most vital combat unit in implementing the cause of the Party. Greeting the 80th anniversary of the formation of the Young Communist League of Korea, youth league organizations and young men and women should staunchly defend President Kim Il Sung’s achievements in the Korean youth movement and the traditions of the movement and add brilliance to their honour as a reserve force and a special detachment of the Supreme Commander.

The youth should volunteer to work at labour-consuming sectors including the construction site of the Paektusan Songun Youth Power Station to display their mettle and feats. They should render distinguished services for the Party and motherland to become youth heroes and patriotic youth praised by the people.

Organizations of trade union, agricultural workers’ union and women’s union should intensify ideological education of their members in line with the requirements of the developing reality and inspire them to the general march for the building of a great, prosperous and powerful nation.

The dawn of reunification is breaking on this land with over six-decade history of division.

Last year witnessed the demonstration of the vitality of the independent reunification movement and the might of the June 15 reunification era. Holding aloft the banner of the North-South Joint Declaration, and under the slogan of independent reunification, peace against war and great national unity, all the fellow countrymen unremittingly followed the road to national reunification, foiling the frantic anti-reunification moves towards war of bellicose forces within and without. Last year’s reality reaffirmed that the Korean people of the same stock are a dignified nation with a strong sense of national self-respect and no force on earth can check the current of national history advancing towards a great, prosperous and powerful reunified nation.

The three principles of national reunification–independence, peaceful reunification and great national unity–put forth by President Kim Il Sung, the Sun of the nation, are the immutable guideline in the cause of reunification, and it is the unshakeable will of Kim Jong Il to realize reunification in our generation true to the instructions of the President.

This year all the fellow countrymen should hold high the slogan, “Add brilliance to the June 15 reunification era by attaching importance to the nation, maintaining peace and achieving unity!”

The stand of attaching importance to the nation should be maintained steadfastly.

To attach importance to the nation is a basic stand and motto the Korean compatriots who are subjected to division and war by foreign forces should hold fast to. Neither outside forces nor ideal can be put before national interests. National demand and interests should be regarded as an absolute yardstick in dealing with all the affairs, and the principles of maintaining independence and giving priority to and defending the nation in the face of any pressure and blackmail of outsiders should be advocated. Inter-Korean relations and reunification movement should be developed in accordance with the ideal of “by our nation itself”. Proud of being a homogeneous nation with a 5,000-year-long history, all the Korean compatriots should preserve the Juche character and national identity and categorically reject the US interference in, and obstructive manoeuvres against, the internal affairs of the nation.

The banner of defending peace should be upheld.

Peace is a key to the reunification of the country and common prosperity of the nation. Today the United States is desperately clinging to war moves against the DPRK and the country’s reunification in an attempt to check the current trend on the Korean peninsula towards reunification by the Korean nation itself and realize its wild ambition for domination of the whole of Korea. Due to the vicious schemes of the United States, peace and security on the Korean peninsula are under grave threat.

To safeguard peace is a just patriotic undertaking to defend the land for the existence of the nation, and victory in this effort is in store for the Korean people who are ready to sacrifice themselves to the defending of national independence. The entire Korean people should turn out in the struggle for peace against war in order to smash the military pressure, war exercises and military buildup that threaten our nation. They should see through the US hegemonic and aggressive nature, and launch a dynamic campaign to drive the US occupation troops, the root cause of war, out of south Korea.

The entire nation should unite.

Unity is a way to national existence and prime mover of the cause of the country’s reunification. Koreans in the north, south and abroad should bring the atmosphere of reconciliation and unity to a crescendo under the banner of independent reunification, and further promote solidarity and alliance between different reunification movement organizations with the June 15 All-Korean Committee as the parent body.

Opposition to conservatives in south Korea is part of the effort for realizing great national unity and a decisive factor for the advance of society and reunification movement there. The “Grand National Party” and other reactionary conservatives are now making desperate efforts to realize their traitorous attempts and ambition for regaining of power with the help of the outside forces. Broad segments of the south Korean people desirous of independent and democratic society and the country’s reunification should realize a broad anti-conservative alliance and launch an energetic campaign on the occasion of this year’s “presidential elections” to decisively destroy the treacherous pro-US conservative forces.

The June 15 North-South Joint Declaration is a beacon of hope that has paved the way for national prosperity. All the Koreans in the north, south and abroad should strive to implement the joint declaration without letup in the face of any trials and difficulties, and smash every attempt to emasculate and obliterate it.

Songun politics is an all-powerful sword for national defence that has proved its invincible might and patriotic character in the practical struggle to shape the destiny of the nation. Cherishing the boundless national pride and self-respect in the present reality in which the national dignity is being demonstrated worldwide on the strength of Songun politics, all the fellow countrymen should staunchly support Songun politics.

All the fellow Koreans in the north, south and abroad should bring about a heyday of the cause of independent reunification by turning out as one in implementing the three tasks–attaching importance to the nation, defending peace and achieving unity–with confidence in and optimism about the rosy future of a reunified country.

The present trend of global situation shows that the strong-arm policy and high-handedness of the imperialists are doomed to failure and that the people’s struggle for independence can never be checked. We will remain faithful to the last to our historic mission in safeguarding global peace and security and advancing the cause of independence of humanity, and continue to intensify international solidarity with the progressive peoples under the ideals of independence, peace and friendship.

A great era of prosperity is smiling on our motherland.

Kim Il Sung’s Korea is a formidable socialist power that is dignified by a great idea, powerful with the single-hearted unity and ever-victorious with the strong military capabilities. No force can obstruct the vigorous advance of our army and people, who are endeavouring to bring earlier the day when they would enjoy happiness in socialist paradise with nothing to envy in the world.


Incentives increase production on cooperative farms

Monday, June 19th, 2006

from the Joong Ang Daily:

After North Korea began a capitalist experiment by adopting economic reform measures in 2002, incentive payments have become common at communal farms, following the lead of factories in urban areas. After the North Koreans quickly grasped the essence of capitalism ― the more they work, the more they earn ― productivity at North Korean farms has increased, and some workers have become the rich in a famine-stricken country.

Paek Kun-su, a 72-year-old farmer at the Chilgol Farm near Pyongyang, met with the JoongAng Ilbo on May 14, during a trip to the North by a team from the newspaper, which was allowed to tour a large number of economic sites last month.

Chilgol Farm is one of North Korea’s representative state-run farms, the authorities there said. After Mr. Paek developed a new variety of rice that yields more with less fertilizer, he was given 15 million North Korean won ($100,000) as a bonus. That was an extravagantly large sum in the North, where a public servant with 30 years of service receives a monthly salary of 6,000 won. A North Korean worker at the Kaesong Industrial Complex receives about $60 a month, and even that is higher than the average salary in the North, so Mr. Paek’s windfall was worth about 160 times that figure.

Mr. Paek said his rice variety, called only “Number Six” in a bow to socialist realism, yielded more than 4 tons per acre in last year’s crop. He also stressed that the new rice variety requires less fertilizer than the ones it replaced and is resistant to attacks by insects. “It can be planted where the temperature is low,”Mr. Paek said. “It can be planted anywhere on the west coast of Korea and anywhere south of Kilju, North Hamgyong province, on the east coast.”

Those claims, however, may require some caution in accepting. For example, the average rice yield in the United States is estimated at about 3.5 tons per acre; the figure in Korea is 2.2 tons.

Mr. Paek said he introduced the new rice variety at a national science and technology fair on May 5. He was selected from more than 50,000 participants as the grand prize winner.

He said he was once a director at North Korea’s rice research institute, a part of the Academy of Science for Agriculture. During his career as a scientist, he said, he won six awards, including medals and a television set, but never a cash prize.

“I am very happy to contribute to increasing crop production in our country and helping resolve food shortages here,” he said, adding that he began developing the new strain of rice in the mid-1990s, after seeing large number of his countrymen dying of hunger.

Mr. Paek’s windfall is out of reach for almost all North Koreans, but many farmers do seem to enjoy better living conditions after the incentive payment system was established. At the Chongsan Cooperative Farm in South Pyongan province, Ko Myong-hee, a 46-year-old manager, said farmers there are living in stable conditions. The JoongAng Ilbo toured the farm on May 14.

Ms. Ko said the farm’s 600 workers produced 8,000 tons of rice in addition to other crops, vegetables and fruits. The farm has about 1,470 acres of rice paddies and 980 acres of fields and orchards. (The difference between that farm’s rice output and Mr. Paek’s claimed yields is startling.)

North Korean farms usually complete their harvest in October, and the government purchases the crops. Milled grains are purchased at 40 won per kilogram, and raw grain at 20 won per kilogram.

Ms. Ko said the Chongsan Cooperative Farm’s workers each received an average of 500,000 won in cash last year in addition to the food they consumed. The incentive payment translates to about 40,000 won per month, about eight times higher than the salary of a Pyongyang office worker. A factory worker in the North with high skills can earn as much as 20,000 won per month, including incentive payments.

“During the famine of the mid-1990s, production went down sharply, but we managed to survive,”Ms. Ko said. “Recently, we improved our crop varieties and the quality of farming land, and production went up after that.”

An official at the National Reconciliation Council, which arranged the visit, said farm villages had suffered relatively less from the severe famines of a decade ago. “Those who had relatives in farming villages received a lot of help from them back then,” he said.

With slowly improving farming conditions, North Korea began last month a revived campaign to mobilize the nation’s workers for agriculture. Another National Reconciliation Council official said a similar campaign last year was successful; “Students older than 12 years and other laborers were mobilized to support farms in this rice planting season,” he said.

North Korea has been living on foreign food aid for more than a decade, and the country is struggling to end its perennial food crisis. “We have high pride, and you can imagine how bad the situation used to be when we asked the international community to help us,” the National Reconciliation Council official said. “But we cannot live on foreign aid forever.”

The country focused on building irrigation waterways to improve farming conditions, officials said. During the JoongAng Ilbo’s visit to the Academy of Agricultural Science, it saw 2,600 researchers working to develop more productive and hardier seeds and more effective fertilizers. The seed improvement project largely focuses on rice and potatoes, the academy said.

“We aim to reach 8 million tons of annual food production by 2007,” a researcher at the academy said.

Ri Il-sop, the science exchange director at the academy, said rice farming in the North used to employ “dense planting” methods until recently, but a test of “thin planting” has been conducted with new varieties of seeds. “The test has been successful so far,” Mr. Ri said. “We can farm easily and save seed with the new methods.”

Another senior researcher at the academy, Pak Sok-ju, said providing information about land conditions and weather is also an important project of the academy. He said other necessary data include things such as the length of the planting season around the nation and the effects of fertilizer usage. “We are developing the program to find a new way of farming in the information age,” Mr. Pak said.

While the North Korean government has called such efforts “an agricultural war,” experts in South Korea said the famine-stricken country still had other crucial tasks at hand. An energy crisis and a shortage of farming tools and fertilizer are crushing burdens, they said, adding that mobilizing manpower and improving seed quality cannot alone resolve the underlying problems in keeping North Korea from being able to feed itself.


Fruit Farms in Korea Take on Fresh Looks

Sunday, May 28th, 2006


Fruit farms across the country are taking on fresh looks through a dynamic drive to cultivate new specimen of fruit trees. Scientific research institutes in the field of agriculture and different nurseries produced 1.5 million saplings of new species of apple trees last year alone by making vigorous endeavors to acclimatize high-yielding fruit species to the climatic and soil conditions of Korea for five years.

Fruit farms in Hwangju, North Hwanghae Province, Onchon, South Phyongan Province, and other parts of the country significantly increased the area of fields under short apple trees which bear fruits faster than other species, bringing the area of fields under apple trees of new species to hundreds of hectares.

Pear trees of new species on Pyongyang, Myonggan and other fruit farms have produced sweet and delicious fruits over the last two years.

The cultivation of peach trees of new species has also proved successful in orchards in different parts of the country. For example, a peach weighed 350-400g last year.

The area of fields under grape of new species is on the yearly increase in various fruit farms including the Sariwon fruit farm in North Hwanghae Province that has turned into a farm specializing in the grape cultivation.

Meanwhile, persimmon-apricot trees are widely distributed in the areas south of Pyongyang and fruit farms in Unpha, Pongsan and other areas prove successful in cultivating jujube trees fruits of which are incomparably rich in vitamin and sugar content and more fragrant than native species of jujube.


Seouol selects inter-Korean science cooperation projects [to subsidize]

Monday, May 1st, 2006

From the Korea Herald:
The South Korean Ministry of Science and Technology yesterday announced this year’s cooperative science and technology projects between South and North Korea.

The ministry selected 15 projects, including new and ongoing ones. They are regarded as having future viability and continuity, the ministry said.

These projects will be supported for the next three years at least, while being evaluated on a regular basis, the ministry said.

For the South-North cooperative science projects, the ministry has invested a total of 4.8 billion won from 1999 to 2005. The ministry has allocated 650 million won for this year.

The 15 projects include the Korea Transport Institute’s peninsula-wide traffic specifications; Korea Center for Disease Control & Prevention’s study on malaria in North Korea; the Korea Research Institute of Chemical Technologies’ study on chemical products as basic necessities; Pohang University of Science and Technology’s training program for computing specialists; Inha University’s initiative to develop North Korea’s wind power resources; Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials’ research on North Korea-originated magnesite; Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology’s development of cold-resistant sweet potatoes to alleviate North Korea’s food shortage.

Also, there are Andong University’s South-North comparative study on fossils in the paleozoic era; Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources’ peninsula-wide geological map; Science & Technology Policy Institute’s analysis on North Korea’s science and technology policy; Seoul National University’s parasite control technology; and Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information’s project for North Korean infrastructure building.

The project selection utilized the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information’s analysis tool for documents and patents, the ministry added.

Dubbed “KITAS,” the tool has helped the ministry analyze North Korea’s 22 different kinds of academic documents, which amounted to 38,000 volumes.

The ministry then selected promising areas of cooperation, which include biotechnology, machine manufacture, and non-metal mineral exploitation.

With its food crisis, North Korea has a particular interest in biotechnology, such as plant breeding and rabbit cloning, the ministry said.

“I think biotechnology cooperation between the two Koreas will be very promising,” said Yoon Dae-sang at the ministry’s science-technology cooperation division.


Biotech sector ripe for inter-Korean cooperation

Monday, May 1st, 2006


South Korea could capitalize on North Korea’s emerging prowess in the biotechnology sector to foster inter-Korean cooperation in this modern scientific field, a report by a state-run institute in Seoul said Monday.

The communist country, often viewed as stunted politically and economically, possesses considerable competitiveness in the field of biotechnology, the report by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI) showed. This, it said, is partly due to the need to alleviate the country’s chronic food shortages.

The institute cited 38,737 papers published in North Korea from 1985 to 2005, to show how scientists there have published a wealth of biotech papers related to medicine and clinical testing of plants and animals.

“North Korea has built up certain fields that can be developed by the two Koreas in the future,” said a KISTI researcher, declining to be named.

North Korean scientists have published many papers on biological agents designed to facilitate growth of tissues and micro-organisms, he said.

The country also reported the world’s second successful cloning of a rabbit and has demonstrated a level of expertise in fields like protein structure analysis, enzyme research and genetics, he added.

Biotech is one of the key future growth industries being pushed by Seoul, so cooperating with the North is being viewed as a potentially win-win deal.

In addition, the report said, South and North Korea can conduct joint works on areas like non-metal research and technology to help in the mining of natural resources.

The report by the institute comes after scientists from both countries promised to expand cooperation in the scientific field.

South Korea’s science minister Kim Woo-sik pledged earlier in the day, to continue state support for joint South-North Korea science cooperation. Seoul plans to provide 650 million won (US$710,200) this year after having spent 4.8 billion won from 1999-2005.


North Korea Development Report 2003/04

Friday, July 30th, 2004

KIEP has published the North Korea Development Report 2003/04 (follow the link to download all several hundred pages!)

Summary: As a result of North Korea’s isolation from the outside world, international
communities know little about the status of the North Korean economy and its
management mechanisms. Although a few recent changes in North Korea’s economic system have attracted international interests, much confusion remains as to the characteristics of North Korea’s recent policy changes and its future direction
due to the lack of information. Therefore, in order to increase the understanding of readers in South Korea and abroad, KIEP is releasing The North Korea Development Report in both Korean and English. The motivation behind this report stemmed from the need for a comprehensive and systematic investigation into North Korea’s socio-economic conditions, while presenting the current status of its industrial sectors and inter-Korean economic cooperation. The publishing of this second volume is important because it not only supplements the findings of the first edition, but also updates the recent changes in the North Korean economy. The topics in this report include macroeconomics and finance, industry and infrastructure, foreign economic relations and inter-Korean economic cooperation, social welfare and science & technology.

This report also covers the ‘July 1 Economic Reform’ launched two years ago and
subsequent changes in the economic management system. The North Korea
Development Report helps to improve the understanding of the contemporary North
Korean economy.
Table of Contents  
Part I Macroeconomic Status and Finance
Chapter 1 Current Status of the North Korean Economy and Its Prospects
Chapter 2 National Financial Revenue and Expenditure
Chapter 3 Banking and Price Management

Part II Industrial Management and Problems
Chapter 4 The Industrial Sector
Chapter 5 The Agricultural Sector
Chapter 6 Social Overhead Capital
Chapter 7 Commerce and Distribution Sector
Chapter 8 The Defense Industry

Part III International Economic Activities
Chapter 9 Foreign Economic Relations
Chapter 10 Special Economic Zones
Chapter 11 Inter-Korean Economic Relations

Part IV Social Security and Technology Development
Chapter 12 Social Security and Social Services
Chapter 13 Science and Technology Sector

Part V The Recent Economic Policy Changes
Chapter 14 The Contents and Background for the Recent Policy Changes
Chapter 15 The Features and Problems of the Recent Economic Policy Changes
Chapter 16 Prospects and Future Tasks of the July 1 Economic Reform