Archive for the ‘Pyongyang Hemp Textiles Co.’ Category

ROK firms hurt by inter-Korean trade restrictions

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

According to Yonhap:

Hundreds of South Korean companies doing business with North Korea are teetering on the edge of bankruptcy due to a prolonged cross-border trade ban, the head of the first inter-Korean joint venture said Sunday.

Inter-Korean trade flourished following a summit between the divided countries in 2000, but has been banned by South Korea since last May in response to the sinking of the Cheonan corvette two months prior, which Seoul says a North Korean submarine torpedoed.

According to the South’s unification ministry, about 860 South Korean companies are operating in North Korea.

“South Korean companies, which invested about 200 billion won (US$179 million) in Pyongyang and Nampo, North Korea, are on the brink of bankruptcy because of the suspension of the inter-Korean trade,” Kim Jung-tae, head of Pyongyang Andong Hemp Textiles, said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency.

Pyongyang Andong Hemp Textiles is the first inter-Korean 50-50 joint venture between the South’s Andong Hemp Textiles and the North’s Saebyol General Trading Co., which was established in October 2008.

Kim said the companies posted a combined $150 million in operating loss due to Seoul’s ban on inter-Korean trade.

In June, Kim formed a body consisting of about 200 South Korean businessmen to seek solutions to the prolonged inter-Korean trade suspension. In its opening ceremony, the body called for the government to implement measures to resume inter-Korean trade.

However, the unification ministry holds firm to its position that the trade ban will remain intact until the North takes responsible measures for the sinking of the Cheonan.

Read the full story here:
S. Korean firms reeling from inter-Korean trade ban


South Korean priest to operate mission out of Pongyang hemp factory

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Sometimes the headlines write themselves.

According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (excerpt):

For the first time in almost 60 years, a Catholic priest will stay in North Korea, and look after the welfare of local workers.

Franciscan Father Paul Kim Kwon-soon says he will stay in Pyongyang, probably beginning in late November, and serve as a “social worker” for factory workers in the first joint North-South business venture.

Returning to South Korea from a visit, Father Kim told UCA News on Nov. 4 that North Korea is allowing him to run a newly built welfare center in Pyongyang that houses a soup kitchen, a free clinic and a public bath, even though “they know I am a Catholic priest.” As a visitor, he will have to renew his visa every two months.

According to Father Kim, the three-story welfare center he will manage is within the factory premises and will provide the workers with services such as medical checkups, meals and haircuts. It will have the capacity to offer free meals to up to 1,500 workers a day.

“I can say that the center will be a turning point in the humanitarian aid to the North,” the priest noted. “We only could send aid materials” in the past, he pointed out, whereas he can now bring aid materials to the North and provide direct service.

Saebyol General agreed last February to establish the center after three years of “great efforts” on the part of his Order of Friars Minor, Father Kim explained.

During the four-day visit to the North, Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon presided at the opening ceremony of the center on Oct. 30, the priest reported.

On Nov. 1 Bishop You, former president of Caritas Corea, the Korean bishops’ social service organization, celebrated a Mass at Changchung Church, the only Catholic church in North Korea, to thank God for opening the center. About 50 South Korean Catholics including eight priests and four Religious took part. No North Korean Catholics attended.

Father Michael Lee Chang-jun, secretary of Caritas Corea, accompanied Bishop You. He told UCA News on Nov. 5 that he wished “the center could provide its service not only for the workers, but other North Korean people in the neighborhood.”

Cecilia Lee Seung-jung, North Korea program manager for Caritas Internationalis, the worldwide confederation of Caritas organizations, earlier called the agreement on the center a significant development. She pointed out that inter-Korean exchanges have been limited since the current government in Seoul assumed office last February.

Records of South Korea’s Unification Ministry show aid to North Korea from the South Korean government and civil groups amounting to US$63.6 million from January to September 2008, while in 2007 it totaled US$304.6 million.

According to Church sources, North Korea maintains that 3,000 Catholics in North Korea practice their faith at “home worship places” across the country, with no residing priest or nun. Between 1949 and 1950 all priests and nuns who remained in the North were executed or disappeared.

It is very interesting that the mission will be operated out of a South/North joint venture company rather than North Korea’s Changchung Cathedral in eastern Pyongyang.  There are countless reasons why concerned parties believe this to be a superior arrangement.

To learn more about Pyongyang’s new hemp factory, click here.

To read the full story mentioned ablove, click below:
Catholic Priest To Work In North For Social Welfare
Union of Catholic Asian News


Pyongyang Hemp Textiles Co.

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

UPDATE: A Catholic Priest will be operating a mission out of the factory.  Read more about this here. 

ORIGINAL POST: Yes, you read the title correctly.  Billed by Yonhap as the first inter-Korean joint venture in Pyongyang:

Pyongyang Hemp Textiles is a cooperative effort between the South’s Andong Hemp Textiles and the North’s Saebyol General Trading Co., with a total investment of US$30 million shared equally by the two sides, according to the officials.

Around 1,000 North Koreans will be working for the textiles and logistics firm, which is built on 47,000 square meters of land in Pyongyang, they said.

…The opening ceremony for the joint venture was delayed for close to two months due to deteriorating inter-Korean relations, which worsened after a South Korean woman was shot to death while traveling the communist country in early July. Pyongyang refused to apologize for the shooting, and denied requests from Seoul to cooperate in a fact-finding mission into the death.

If anyone has any idea where this company is located on Google Earth, please let me know. 

According to Wikipedia, which is not an authoritative source:

Industrial Hemp is produced in many countries around the world. Major producers include Canada, France, and China. The United States is the only industrialized nation to continue to ban industrial hemp. While the Hemp is imported to the United States more than to any other country, the United States Government does not distinguish between marijuana and non-psychoactive Cannabis used for industrial and commercial purposes.