North Korea

TRox51 at TRox51 at
Mon Apr 24 09:34:20 PDT 2000

In regards to NK economic development (or lack thereof), its interesting to note that the CIA put out a report in the early '70s that NK was ahead of SK in nearly every economic indicator. It was after the mid-1970s, when Japanese corporations and banks began pouring huge amounts of capital and technology into the south, that SK began to surpass NK. Now of course SK's GDP is about 500 times larger than NK's. As for the current situation, from what I hear from recent visitors, the hunger situation is still pretty bad, but primarily in the far north rural sections of the country. Under the current 'great leader' Kim Jong Il apparently much decentralization has taken place, allowing some local areas to develop their own aspects of small market economies. A former missionary in SK who went to NK a few months ago tells me he saw several outdoor markets flourishing in medium size cities outside of Pyongyang, such as the port of Hamhung on the east coast. He could see hundreds of peo! ! ple selling food and other products but was not allowed to see the markets close up by his NK guides. Upcoming talks between the SK and NK leaders may yield some interesting economic agreements, but so far the model seems to be NK providing cheap labor for SK companies struggling through the Asia crisis (ie Samsung electronics) and earning money by allowing tours and car races sponsored by Hyundai. Meanwhile, a large US business delegation is scheduled to go to NK in the next few months. Tim Shorrock

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