Dec. 2 – The latest issue of DPRK Business Monthly is now available for complimentary download. The regular magazine looks at current international, domestic, and peninsular affairs concerning North Korea while also offering commentary and tourism information on the country.
In recent international news, Victor Ishayev, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s envoy for the Far East, has said that the DPRK will earn US$100 million annually if it becomes a transit country for Russian gas supplies to South Korea.
Back in August, President Medvedev said after talks with his DPRK counterpart Kim Jong-il that the parties had reached an agreement to build a natural gas pipeline to South Korea across North Korean territory, at a cost of US$6 billion.
“It (the US$100 million) would be a huge sum for a country with a gross annual product of US$10 billion at present,” Ishayev commented. “Moreover, the DPRK would have to make no big effort to get it.”
In other international news, North Korea’s mineral exports to China have tripled this year compared to a year ago, according to a joint study by Yonhap News Agency and the Seoul-based IBK Economic Research Institute.
Data show that China imported 8.42 million tons of minerals from North Korea from January to September this year, worth US$852 million. Over the first nine months of last year China bought 3.04 million tons of minerals from the North, for US$245 million.
Anthracite coal was the biggest import.
In domestic news, DPRK state news agency KCNA reports that the construction of 100,000 private homes in Pyongyang is 70 percent complete. Pyongyang’s district of Mansudae is to build over 1,000 units of high-rise apartments (77 stories), theaters, parks and other recreational facilities.
The transformation of the DPRK capital is aimed at completion by April 15, 2012, the centenary of the birth of the country’s founding President Kim Il-sung.
In peninsular affairs, the South Korean government has approved of plans to improve the road between the city of Kaesong and the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
A South Korean government official explained that the decision was made pursuant to an agreement between the Kaesong Industrial Complex Management Committee, South Korea’s LH Construction and the North Korean authorities.
“Our side has taken on responsibility for planning the road repairs and supervising the construction,” he added. “The weather could change things, but the construction should require three months and is expected to cost 1.8 billion South Korean won.”
To read further about these topics, and much more, please download the complimentary DPRK Business Monthly PDF on the Asia Briefing Bookstore.
DPRK Business Monthly is produced by North Korea expert Paul White.