US Korea Institute

Tuesday February 9th 2016
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Posts Tagged ‘economy’

North Korea’s Special Economic Zones: Plans vs. Progress

North Korea’s Special Economic Zones: Plans vs. Progress

Since Kim Jong Un assumed power, he has prioritized economic development in a way his father never did. Indeed, much of his domestic brand is now linked to economic growth and quality of life issues. He has tinkered with the modus operandi of both farms and state owned enterprises, and set forth a very visible economic experiment: the creation of [...]

Laudable? Lawdy, No! How South Korea’s Spurious Self-Effacement Messes Up North Korea’s Trade Data

Laudable? Lawdy, No! How South Korea’s Spurious Self-Effacement Messes Up North Korea’s Trade Data

Ruediger Frank is one of the very best authorities we have on the DPRK economy. As readers of 38 North well know, he is equally adept at incisive abstract analysis and informed first-hand observation in this vital area. His latest article, “North Korea’s Foreign Trade,” is no exception. Frank has done us all a service, especially those with [...]

What Satellite Imagery Can Tell Us About North Korea’s Markets

What Satellite Imagery Can Tell Us About North Korea’s Markets

North Korea is a well-known “black hole” with regard to quantitative data. Hard numbers from the country are virtually nonexistent, and statistical information about it is scattered and unreliable at best. Most other countries freely publish at least rudimentary statistics on demographics, health, economics, and other areas, but in the DPRK, [...]

North Korea’s Foreign Trade

North Korea’s Foreign Trade

Foreign trade is, like elsewhere and for obvious reasons, one of the key indicators of North Korea’s economy. However, since the state is notoriously reluctant to provide related figures, we have to rely on external sources to obtain this data. The South Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) is one institution that has for many years [...]

North Korea’s Ponghwa Chemical Factory

North Korea’s Ponghwa Chemical Factory

By Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Sun Young Ahn Summary Nearly every modern nation must obtain and refine oil to ensure its economic viability, and North Korea is no exception. However, the country’s lack of significant proven oil reserves has forced it to import all of its crude oil and many of its finished petroleum products, while relying [...]

North Korea’s Friends in Singapore Running Flags of Convenience

North Korea’s Friends in Singapore Running Flags of Convenience

Personal relationships are one of the most under-discussed aspects of nonproliferation and sanctions implementation. Yet understanding them is crucial to both. For decades, North Korea has maintained a close circle of friends in Singapore that have aided the country’s overseas trade. They have marketed North Korean products, secured service [...]

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Credit for photo of young North Korean girl: T.M. All rights reserved, used with permission.