Archive for the ‘Pyongyang City Management Law’ Category

Park’s Appearance Unlikely to Mean Real Reform

Monday, December 13th, 2010

According to the Daily NK:

An oft-cited example of an advocate of reform within the North Korean leadership, former Prime Minister Park Bong Ju [aka Pak Pong-ju] appeared alongside Kim Jong Il during a recent onsite inspection at a Pyongyang sock factory, leading to suggestions that North Korea may again be contemplating the idea of embracing economic reform.

However, this is less likely than another explanation; that Park was brought back into the fold to oversee a number of revisions to the legal code during 2010.

Park, whose appearance at the onsite inspection was verified in five images broadcast by Chosun Central Television on the 11th, was a leading architect of the July 1st Economic Management Reform Measure of 2002, which formalized a number of relatively liberal economic policies.

He then became Prime Minister in September 2003, but was deposed during a period of economic retrenchment in April 2007, sent into virtual exile in South Pyongan Province as manager of Suncheon Vinalon Complex.

As a result of this career path, Park is seen by many as a reformist thinker in the North Korean elite.

Therefore, when he stepped back onto the main political stage this August, three years and four months later, mentioned in a report published by Chosun Central News Agency on August 21st about the 50th anniversary of a well-known Pyongyang restaurant, Okryugwan, it led to suggestions that North Korea might be set to head down the road to economic reform, led by Park as Party First Vice Director.

However, Park’s re-emergence does not mean that North Korea is about to turn towards market mechanisms on an official basis; conversely, it is more likely to be related to the revision this year of a number of laws which were actually designed to strengthen the control and supervisory functions of state institutions.

North Korea officially revised the People’s Economic Planning Law on April 6th alongside the Pyongyang Management Law, revised on March 30th, and both its Labor Protection and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Laws, revised on July 8th.

In revealing the legal revisions to The Daily NK in an interview in November, an inside North Korean source commented on the intention behind the changes, saying, “The People’s Economic Planning Law of 2001 alleviated national controls and supervision, even though it came before the July 1st measure of 2002. However, the revised bill strengthens national controls.”

Additionally, the source went on, “This series of bills including the revised People’s Economic Planning Law are the basis of the nation’s control, management and supervision. It should be understood as being part of the same flow as the series of measures undertaken during the succession process since October of 2007, when market controls began wholeheartedly; the 150-day Battle, 100-day Battle and currency redenomination.”

Accordingly, research suggests that North Korea probably chose to play the Park Bong Ju card now to revise state policy to try and sort out the problems left behind by the failure of the 2009 currency redenomination and to address the pressing need to improve the state of the domestic economy, whilst also hoping that the appointment of an official with a reformist image might attract investment from Northeast China and further afield.

Michael Madden has written a bio of Pak Pong-ju. Read it here.

Read the full Daily NK sotry below:
Park’s Appearance Unlikely to Mean Real Reform
Daily NK
Kim So-yeol


New Pyongyang management law aims at modernization

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 10-11-30

North Korea has recently revised the Pyongyang City Management Law in order to support ongoing modernization efforts by increasing the management and operational authority of the Cabinet and of the State Planning Committee. On October 21, the Cabinet newspaper ‘Minju Chosun’ ran an article emphasizing the need to ensure that necessary capital and supplies were guaranteed for the construction of 100,000 new residences in Pyongyang and now it appears the North is backing up this modernization drive with the law.

The legal code was revised in accordance with Order No. 743, passed down by the standing committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly on March 30 of this year, but was just recently made public in South Korea. What stands out in this newly revised law is that the central government has strengthened its hold on management and operations within the city.

Article 47 of the city management law states, “The Cabinet must naturally take control of and supervise Pyongyang management operations,” and Article 48 stipulates that the State Planning Committee and the Pyongyang People’s Committee establish and strictly follow detailed plans for each sector of management operations within the capital city. Article 47, of the former law (enacted on 26 Nov. 1998), which covered management projects within Pyongyang, was removed while five new articles were added. Article 17 covers housing construction, Article 27 covers management of street lighting, Article 43 covers the delivery of publications, Article 46 stipulates basic working conditions, and Article 51 guarantees that goods will be produced for Pyongyang markets.

Article 17 stipulates that “the construction of housing must completely guaranteed,” and Article 51 states that planning for and production of commercial goods for Pyongyang must be ensured “without fail.” Housing, goods, electricity, capital and other necessities for the modernization of Pyongyang have now been essentially legally guaranteed. New housing in the capital has been a priority for the North, with construction already underway and plans for 30,000 additional units next year and 35,000 more in 2012. In order to show off these new renovations day and night, Article 27 calls for the “logical installation of street lights” to brighten walkways, roads, and national monuments. The new legal revision appears to be yet another step toward shoring up the framework for establishment of a ‘Strong and Prosperous Nation’ and transition of power to yet a third generation of Kims.

The new law reinforces Pyongyang’s centrality in North Korea’s revolutionary ambitions, referring to the capital as “the home of Juche,” “the heart of the Korean people,” and “the face of the nation.”