Archive for the ‘Pyongyang University of Science and Technology’ Category

Korea Business Consultants Newsletter (1/09)

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Korea Business Consultants has published their January newsletter.

Here is a link to the PDF.

Topics covered:
New Year Joint Editorial
Year of DPRK-China friendship
UNDP to resume DPRK operations
Buddhist Leader to Head DPRK’s ROK Affairs
DPRK Railroad Engineers Study in Russia
Housing Construction Progresses Apace
Orascom Opens Bank in Pyongyang
DPRK Tackles Clothing Shortage
“DPRK Harvest Best in Years”
China to Invest in NK Coal
US$ 3.75 Million in Australian Aid for DPRK
The Principles of the DPRK’s Foreign Trade
ROK Farmers Send Rice to DPRK
New SNG Kaesong Plant Idle
“Inter-Korean Trade Slides Due to Weak ROK Won”
ROK to Build Nursery in Kaesong Complex
DPRK Opens Consulate in Dandong
DPRK, China Foreign Officials Meet
Seoul Forum Highlights DPRK Films
“NK Martial Arts Team Best in World”
PUST Opening Delayed
DPRK TV Takes Note of Park Ji-sung
The Korean War


PUST announces April start date

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

The opening of the South Korean-funded Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) has been repeatedly delayed by political concerns.  Project directors are now aiming for an April 2009 launch date. 

According to the AFP (via Singapore’s Straits Times): 

NORTH Korea’s first foreign-funded university is finally expected to open next year after being delayed by international tensions, the foundation behind the landmark project said Tuesday.

The North-east Asia Foundation for Education and Culture (NAFEC) said it has now set April 2009 as the target date after delays caused by disputes over the North’s nuclear programme and by inter-Korean tensions.

The original plan was to open the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) as early as September 2007 but there have been several delays.

‘We’ve reached the conclusion that it is difficult to open it now, in light of the current (political) situation,’ said Mr Choi Chung-Pyung, secretary general of the South Korean-based foundation.

‘We’re prepared to open it but the North has hinted that it is not the right time to engage in such a festive event,’ he told AFP. ‘The South, while admitting to the advantages of this project, also says the timing is not so favourable.’

The United States, whose support is essential for the university to be equipped with lab facilities and faculty members, is also hesitating to cooperate – citing the unsettled nuclear issue, Mr Choi added.

PUST would be the first institution of higher education operated and funded by associations and peoples outside the communist state, he said.

Mr Choi said the North’s science and technology education focuses on basics and fails to produce engineers with practical knowledge needed to produce export goods.

‘The North keenly feels the need for changes for economic resuscitation but it dares not, for fear of undermining its (communist) system,’ Mr Choi said.

Read the full article here:
NKorea’s 1st foreign uni delayed
AFP via Straits Times


Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) update

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology  (PUST) has launched a new web site (click here) featuring pictures of the campus nearing completion in Southern Pyongyang.  The university’s opening, however, is behind schedule—now planned for spring of 2009. 

According to an email from Norma H. Nichols, Director, International Academic Affairs Office, Yanbian University of Science & Technology, sent to the CanKor list:

I have been rather deeply involved in preparing for the new university [PUST] since its beginning stages. We did not open in May and we still cannot announce an opening this fall. We really do think it will happen, although we still do not have the desperately needed EAR from the US Commerce Dept. that would allow us to take in the equipment we think we need. –CanKor report #312

Click here to see the PUST campus (under construction) in Google Maps


IFES Monthly report

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)


Following two days of talks between economic representatives of the two Koreas at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, South Korea announced on July 7 that it would begin shipping raw materials to the North in exchange for DPRK natural resources. South Korea shipped 800,000 USD of polyester fabric on July 25, and is set to send the rest of the materials by the end of November. North Korea accepted South Korean prices for the goods, and will pay transportation, cargo working, and demurrage costs, as well. South Korea will pay for shipping, insurance, and the use of port facilities. On 28 July, a South Korean delegation left for the North in order to conduct on-site surveys of three zinc and magnesite mines. The team will spend two weeks in North Korea.

It was reported on 17 July that North Korea proposed a joint fishing zone north of the ‘Northern Limit Line’ dividing North and South territorial waters to the west of the peninsula. Seoul turned down the offer.

Inter-Korean military talks broke down early on 26 July after only three days of negotiations as North Korea insisted on the redrawing of the Northern Limit Line.

North Korea demanded on 27 July that workers in the Kaesong Industrial Complex be given a 15 percent pay raise. The North Korean workers will not work overtime, weekends or holidays beginning in August unless the raise is granted.

It was reported by the Korea International Trade Association on 26 July that inter-Korean trade was up 28.6 percent in the first six months of 2007, totaling 720 million USD.


It was reported on 19 July that Russia and North Korea have agreed to connect Khasan and Najin by rail, enlisting investment from Russian oil companies interested in an inactive refinery at Najin Port capable of processing up to 120,000 barrels per day. The project is estimated to cost over two billion USD.


During a four-day visit to Mongolia by Kim Yong-nam beginning on 20 July, the two countries signed protocols on cooperation on health and science, trade and sea transport, and labor exchange issues. This follows on the heals of an agreement to allow South Korean trains to travel through North Korean territory on to Mongolia in route to Russia and Europe.


Japan took one step further to recover abductees in North Korea this month when the government began broadcasting propaganda into the DPRK intended for Japanese citizens. The broadcasts are made in Korean and Japanese (30 minutes each) daily, and updated once per week.


U.S. Ambassador to the ROK Alexander Vershbow stated that Washington was prepared to negotiate a permanent peace regime on the Korean Peninsula by the end of the year if North Korea were to completely abandon its nuclear ambitions.



The Egyptian company Orascom Construction Industries announced a 115 million USD deal with North Korea’s state-owned Pyongyang Myongdang Trading Corporation to purchase a 50 percent state in Sangwon Cement. To put this in perspective, the deal in worth more than four times the amount of frozen DPRK funds that had caused six-party talks to break down and delayed the implementation of the February 13 agreement.


The Economist reported on 7 July that, according to foreigners living in the North’s capital, concern for petty law appears to be weakening. Citizens are reportedly smoking in smoke-free zones, sitting on escalator rails, and even blocking traffic by selling wares on the streets.

It was reported on July 11 that a letter sent earlier in the year by the North Korean Red Cross indicated severe shortages of medical supplies. The letter stated that North Korea would accept any medicine, even if it was past expiration, and accept all consequences for any problems that arose from using outdated supplies. The (South) Korea Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association had no choice but to reject the request.

Events were held on July 11 in North Korea in order to promote women’s health and well-being issues. Marking World Population Day, a North Korean official stated that the DPRK has cooperated with the UN Population Fund since 1986, and is now in the fourth phase of cooperation.

Seeing entertainment venues as a “threat to society”, North Korean security forces have been implementing a shutdown of karaoke bars and Internet cafes. These venues mainly cater to traders in the northern regions of the country.

It was reported on July 13 that construction of North Korea’s first all-English language university was nearing completion. The Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, funded largely by ROK and U.S. Christian evangelical groups, will hold 2600 students and offer undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in business administration, information technology, and agriculture.

Local elections were held on 29 July for DPRK provincial, city, and country People’s Assemblies. 100 percent of 27,390 candidates were approved with a 99.82 percent turnout reported.


North Korea ready to learn from the outside world

Friday, July 13th, 2007

New Zealand Herald (hat tip DPRK Studies)
David McNeill

North Korea is set to take a potentially giant leap out of the intellectual cold with the construction of a new all-English language university staffed by academics from around the world and teaching the cream of the country’s graduate students.

Construction of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology is nearing completion on a 100ha plot leased by the People’s Army in the North’s capital. The Army has loaned 800 solders to build the campus, which is largely funded by a network of Christian evangelicals.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is believed to have personally ordered the site cleared for use and granted the university the right to hire staff from anywhere in the world.

The university is expected to eventually have 2600 undergraduate and postgraduate students and to help train a new generation of elite business executives and technicians.

The project’s leaders in South Korea and the United States are playing down its potential impact for fear of spooking the North’s jittery authorities, but agree that it represents potentially a seismic shift in the reclusive state’s largely frozen relations with the rest of the planet.

“It will be the country’s first international university,” said Professor Chan Mo Park, co-chair of the university and a prominent Seoul scientist.

“The North has good universities but they don’t communicate with the rest of the world. This will let everyone know that the capacity of their scientists is very high.”

Despite crumbling facilities, Pyongyang’s standards of computer science, software and applied mathematics are world-class, say experts, and its youth are bursting with pent-up business energy. The university is expected to generate spin-off businesses and eventually a Silicon Valley-style business park.

The faculty of 45 will offer an MA in business administration as well as courses on information technology and agriculture to an initial cohort of about 150 students recruited from the country’s top research institutions.

Given the scale of foreign involvement and the money poured into the new campus so far, those involved say they are confident it will open its first research laboratories this autumn and its doors to students next spring.

But the legendary unpredictability of the Kim Jong-Il government could still throw a spanner in the university’s works.


A Mission to Educate the Elite

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Science Magazine
Vol. 316. no. 5822, p. 183
DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5822.183
Richard Stone

In a dramatic new sign that North Korea is emerging from isolation, the country’s first international university has announced plans to open its doors in Pyongyang this fall.

Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) will train select North Korean graduate students in a handful of hard-science disciplines, including computer science and engineering. In addition, founders said last week, the campus will anchor a Silicon Valley-like “industrial cluster” intended to generate jobs and revenue.

One of PUST’s central missions is to train future North Korean elite. Another is evangelism. “While the skills to be taught are technical in nature, the spirit underlying this historic venture is unabashedly Christian,” its founding president, Chin Kyung Kim, notes on the university’s Web site (

The nascent university is getting a warm reception from scientists involved in efforts to engage the Hermit Kingdom. “PUST is a great experiment for North-South relations,” says Dae-Hyun Chung, a physicist who retired from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and now works with Roots of Peace, a California nonprofit that aims to remove landmines from Korea’s demilitarized zone. To Chung, a Christian university is fitting: A century ago, Christianity was so vibrant in northern Korea, he says, that missionaries called Pyongyang “the Jerusalem of the East.”

The idea for PUST came in a surprise overture from North Korea in 2000, a few months after a landmark North-South summit. A decade earlier, Kim had established China’s first foreign university: Yanbian University of Science and Technology, in Yanji, the capital of an autonomous Korean enclave in China’s Jilin Province, just over the border from North Korea. In March 2001, the North Korean government authorized Kim and his backer, the nonprofit Northeast Asia Foundation for Education and Culture (NAFEC), headquartered in Seoul, to establish PUST in southern Pyongyang. It also granted NAFEC the right to appoint Kim as PUST president and hire faculty of any nationality, as well as a contract to use the land for 50 years.

NAFEC broke ground in June 2002 on a 1-million-square-meter plot that had belonged to the People’s Army in Pyongyang’s Nak Lak district, on the bank of the Taedong River. Construction began in earnest in April 2004. That summer, workers–a few of the 800 young soldiers on loan to the project–unearthed part of a bell tower belonging to a 19th century church dedicated to Robert Jermain Thomas, a Welsh Protestant missionary killed aboard his ship on the Taedong in 1866.

NAFEC’s fundraising faltered, however, and construction halted in fall 2004. The group intensified its Monday evening prayers and broadened its money hunt, getting critical assistance from a U.S. ally: the former president of Rice University, Malcolm Gillis, a well-connected friend of the elder George Bush and one of three co-chairs of a committee overseeing PUST’s establishment. “He made a huge difference,” says Chan-Mo Park, president of Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), another co-chair. South Korea’s unification ministry also quietly handed PUST a $1 million grant–more than it has awarded to any other North-South science cooperation project. This helped the school complete its initial $20 million construction push.

At the outset, PUST will offer master’s and Ph.D. programs in areas including computing, electronics, and agricultural engineering, as well as an MBA program. North Korea’s education ministry will propose qualified students, from which PUST will handpick the inaugural class of 150. It is now seeking 45 faculty members. Gillis and other supporters are continuing to stump for a targeted $150 million endowment to cover PUST operations, which in the first year will cost $4 million. Undergraduate programs will be added later, officials say. PUST, at full strength, aims to have 250 faculty members, 600 grad students, and 2000 undergrads.

PUST hopes to establish research links and exchanges with North Korea’s top institutions and with universities abroad. “It is a very positive sign,” says Stuart Thorson, a political scientist at Syracuse University in New York who leads a computer science collaboration between Syracuse and Kimchaek University of Technology in Pyongyang. “Key to success will be achieving on-the-ground involvement of international faculty in PUST’s teaching and research.”

Some observers remain cautious, suggesting that the North Korean military could use the project to acquire weapons technology or might simply commandeer the campus after completion. A more probable risk is that trouble in the ongoing nuclear talks could cause delays. At the moment, however, signs are auspicious. Park, who plans to teach at PUST after his 4-year POSTECH term ends in August, visited Pyongyang last month as part of a PUST delegation. “The atmosphere was friendly,” he says. “The tension was gone.” The Monday prayer group continues, just in case.


South, North Korea to open joint college in September

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007


South and North Korea will open their first joint college later this year in a show of warming ties between the two sides, officials said Wednesday.

The Pyongyang Science and Technology College is scheduled to open in the North’s capital on Sept. 10 and will initially house 150 graduate students for such courses as master of business administration (MBA).

“We had originally planned to open it in April but strained inter-Korean ties delayed the project. The favorable environment will make the project go smoothly this time,” said Lim Wan-geun, a boarding member of the Northeast Asia Foundation for Education and Culture.

Kim Jin-kyong, dean of Yanbian Science and Technology College, will be the first dean of the inter-Korean college, the official said. The college will consist of a five-story building for lectures, a four-story building for a library, dining facilities and research and five dormitory buildings.

Inter-Korean relations have warmed considerably since the 2000 summit of their leaders, but tension persists since the rival states are still technically in a state of war, as no peace treaty was signed at the end of the Korean War.

South Korea suspended its food and fertilizer aid to North Korea after it conducted missile tests in July. A possible resumption of the aid was blocked due to the North’s nuclear bomb test in October.

But the relationship was revived after North Korea promised to end its nuclear weapons program in return for energy aid, and the two sides held the first ministerial talks in seven months in March.

Koreas to open first joint university
Korea Herald

Cho Ji-hyun

The first joint university between South and North Korea will open in Pyongyang in September, a senior member of the founding committee told The Korea Herald.

South Koreans including Park Chan-mo, president of POSTECH in Pohang, visited Pyongyang yesterday to discuss the establishment and operation of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, or PUST.

Early last year, the Northeast Asia Foundation for Education and Culture, a Seoul-based nonprofit organization, agreed with the North’s education authorities to open PUST as early as last October.

The schedule has been delayed due to the lack of progress in their talks amid tensions caused by North Korea’s missile and nuclear tests last year.

Their contacts have recently resumed as the ties between the two Koreas improved following the six-party agreement on the North’s nuclear programs in Beijing.

In an interview with The Korea Herald, Park, a member of the founding committee, said the school will open in September and that further discussions will take place before the opening.

The visiting delegation includes Kim Chin-kyung, president of Yanbian University of Science and Technology, who assumes the post of founding president of the Pyongyang university.

Choi Kwang-chul, professor of Seoul’s Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, also joined the trip.

For the four-day trip, they are to inspect the progress of construction work, and discuss the cross-border passage of faculty and internet connections for the school.

“We will raise two demands – constructing a land route between the two Koreas to allow professors to travel across the borders and providing internet connection,” Park said.

A Seoul government official also confirmed that the school will open in September.

The project was first initiated in 2001. The Northeast Asia Foundation for Education and Culture plans to expand the school into a university with 240 professors and more than 2,000 students from both countries.

However, the university plans to open with 50 professors and 200 students participating in master’s and doctoral programs in its first year, university officials wrote on their school website.

The university project is led by Park, Lee and Malcolm Gillis, former university president of Rice University in Texas.

In a separate effort, POSTECH has worked on a joint project with the Pyongyang Informatics Center, or PIC, since April 2001, according to Park.

Using PIC’s three dimensional computer aided design program, POSTECH has completed the development of a software called “Construction,” which offers a virtual walk through the construction site to detect errors, he said.