Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
Corrected to reflect the two inter-Korea special administrative regions in Kaeso’ng and Mt. Ku’mgang
The 12th Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] will hold its sixth session on 25 September. Ahead of the DPRK’s unicameral legislature convening an unusual second session during a given year, there are indications that the country will publicize modifications to current agricultural policies and expand special administrative zones.
There are rumors that the SPA session will ratify a new agricultural policy. Citing reports from Reuters and the Associated Press, the BBC reports:
Reports of the possible changes came from both inside and outside North Korea.
Farmers in North Korea are currently required to hand over almost all of their production to the state, after keeping a portion for their families.
But two farm workers south of Pyongyang told the Associated Press (AP) news agency that new rules – allowing them to keep any surplus after a government quota had been met – would be implemented later this year.
“We expect a good harvest this year,” farmer O Yong Ae told AP. “I’m happy because we can keep the crops we worked so hard to grow.”
Reuters news agency also reported the plan, citing an unidentified source with ties to Beijing and Pyongyang.
“Peasants will have incentive to grow more food. They can keep and sell in the market about 30-50% of their harvest depending on the region,” the news agency quoted the source as saying.
No official announcement has been made but analysts see it as a sign of a potential change of direction under the country’s new leader, Kim Jong-un, who took power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il in December 2011.
North Korea recently sold 30-year operating rights to docks 3 & 4 at the port in Chongjin to Chinese firms, making it probable that the city will become part of a special economic zone (SEZ) in due course. If so, the move would actually represent the culmination of a plan drawn up almost ten years ago, under which Chongjin was divided into two regions, Chongjin and South Chongjin, in preparation.At the time, the tentatively planned SEZ area would have encompassed Sunam in the center of the city plus Pohang, Chungam and Sinam to the north, while putting Ranam and Songpyong districts outside the SEZ in South Chongjin.Therefore, a source from the city recalled on the 13th, “With opening in mind, they put in place plans to move provincial administrative agencies to Ranam District. They chose sites and finished building blueprints under which the provincial Party, provincial People’s Safety Ministry and Kim Il Sung statue from Pohang District and the province’s people’s committee from Sinam District would all move.”The source went on, “The people of Chongjin were excited then because they knew how much Rasun developed after opening. Those people living in Songpyong and Ranam tried hard to get their jobs and residences moved to the SEZ area in advance, which naturally inspired a security backlash.”Although its opening has not been an unbridled success, outsiders forget that until the early 1990s Rajin had been a county town in which life was hard even by North Korean standards. However, after it was designated a special economic zone by Kim Il Sung, roads and houses changed beyond recognition. One defector remembered, “The changes took place so fast that it seemed like a foreign city.”Indeed, many residents of Rajin SEZ famously sent food and material support to relatives in less fortunate areas throughout the famine of 1995-1997.However, the Chongjin SEZ plan presents considerable hurdles. One problem is that from a security standpoint there is not only the danger posed by foreign products and information, but also that the areas inside and outside the SEZ need to be physically separated.In Rajin’s case, not only were undesirable elements including family members of political prisoners and people detained in re-education camps forced to move out, but even people without jobs in the SEZ were told to move on.As subsequently proven by satellite images, “Rajin is surrounded by barbed wire, like an island within the land,” the source said. “The residents are kept away from the foreign tourists, who have access to the luxury hotel and its casino.”
Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Korea are set to partner on the development of solid minerals in the country.
To this effect, the Ambassador of the Asian country, Ambassador Jong Hak Se, has offered technical assistance for the development of the Solid minerals and Agricultural sectors in Nigeria
The ambassador said this when he paid a working visit to the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Architect Musa Mohammed Sada, in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the offer was for both the Federal and State governments as part of effort to enhance the development of the Steel sector.
Jong Hak Se maintained, “that Korea like Nigeria was enriched with lots of mineral resources and shared a vibrant solid minerals sector but differed in that while Nigeria sought to be one of the 20 most developed countries of the World by the year 2020, Korea wants to be the most developed Country by 2020”.
The Minister, in his response, assured that the federal government has mapped out an agenda for economic development, job creation and economic empowerment for the only sector which had the greatest job generation potential