Friday, August 20, 2004


Apparently that is what Ken Quinones was told (thanks to NK Zone)
“Leaders of the North Korea Workers’ Party mentioned that the economic reform measures were suspended due to criticism that reform measures just brought about inflation without economic profits,” said Quinones. He added, “The goal of North Korea is to strengthen the socialistic state control, not to switch over to capitalism.”
If this is accurate, this would be quite significant, to say the least.

UPDATE: One Randal Eastman provides abundant anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Some examples:
-- the Mushroom farm we visited needs better technology to increase
production of compost - the main ingredient for them to make more white button mushrooms. Would they like to - of course!

-- Ice cream entrepreneurs abound - and have a steady supply of

-- The Hamburger has arrived - with Korean characteristics

-- A restaurant promoting a seasonal special - very innovative.

-- A private outdoor beer garden & bulgogi restaurant -- catering to
its customers needs and with excellent food.

With less Korea expertise but no less spunk I have to tell you that I noticed a sea change of difference between my visit this July and the previous year in March 2003:

-- In Kim Il Sung square in Sinuiju we went for an evening walk after
dinner and 100 m from KIS statue across from the Railway station were at least half a dozen small informal kiosks (tents) selling snacks & smokes -- by the light of a single tiny candle. It would not have been out of place in that peaceful setting to see an old woman selling Russian icons. Market forces in their infancy and without the criminal elment that characterized Russia in the early 90's.

-- And I did see bananas being hawked at one point too.

-- Pyongyang was dramatically changed. Much more traffic on the road -- we saw a plethora of used japanese cars.
There's more.

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