North Korean state media reports since New Year’s Day suggest that North Korea’s economic development strategy of 2017 will be more heavily focused on expanding light industry.
“The gates of happiness will be opened sooner, should we push out the various and high-quality products that are made by our (North Korean) hands,” North Korean ruling party organ Rodong Sinmun said on Tuesday.
“Workers should keep in mind that the speed of light industry’s development is on their shoulders… so endlessly, they must renew the business strategies… and bravely stretch the scientific plans to produce master products that our people will love,” another article read.
On Tuesday alone at least four articles focused on light industries, with a combined length of more than 2000 words, were published in Rodong, covering about one whole page of Tuesday’s edition.
Various keywords repeatedly appeared, including “competition,” “active output,” “strategies,” “modernization” and “Jagang” (self-sustainability), emphasizing the importance of self-made light industry products, such as food items, small machinery, clothing items and others.
Kim Jong Un during his New Year’s address stressed his intention to diversify and increase the quality of North Korean-made consumer goods.
Kim’s emphasis on light industry continued after his address, with the leader visiting various light manufacturing sites around North Korea.
Kim Jong Un’s “economy focused” activities this year contrast with his nuclear and military-focused work during the first three weeks of January 2016.
During that period, he watched an artillery firing contest (January 5), conducted a self-claimed H-bomb test (January 6), a congratulatory visit to the H-bomb test unit (January 10) and awarded nuclear scientists (January 11).
That year ended with an additional nuclear test and dozens of ballistic tests throughout the year.
North Korea’s provocations were followed by various international sanctions, new rules which could be behind the change of direction in the country’s economic planning, a Seoul-based North Korean economy researcher told NK News.
“The punishing sanctions of 2016 created a harsher condition for the export of North Korean coal,” Dr. Rhee Yoojin, a researcher from the Korea Development Bank reunification department, told NK News. “For the past five years, North Korea has steadily expanded its light industries from food to textile items.”
“Using coals that are not as exportable as they used to be, North Korea is utilizing that natural resource for its thermoelectric power plants and to produce more energy, and to use it to promote ‘North Korean made’ light industry products.”
Featured Image: KCNA
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 445 words of this article.