|▲ Meeting with Kim Jong Il and Russian President Putin in 2004 ⓒ Yonhap News|
On the 30th, Huanqiushibao, an international affiliated magazine of the Chinese People’s Daily, noted the above statement on Russia’s recent movement to invest in North Korea.
The paper said, “The Russian natural fuel gas business has already completed the preparation for providing energy support and is planning to manufacture petroleum in North Korea."
“Russia has pioneered the Chungjin-Siberia railroad for a long time” and “if they retain the Eurasia continental rail, then they will gain an annual economic profit of four hundred million dollars,” the paper commented.
Further, the paper said that “Russia is finishing its preparation of surplus concentration in the Wondong (Far Eastern region) to export to North Korea.” As a provision of support to invest in North Korea, Russia is also driving the construction of the Kraskino-Chungjin 50,000 kv railway line for exporting Korea remodeling business and concentration of energy in Wondong to three thermal generating plants in the North.
The paper relays a Russian economic expert’s voice to expand investment in North Korea
Prekofts, Russia’s Wondong Economic Research Institute Chair, said, while emphasizing the importance of investment expansion, “We cannot limit items to invest in North Korea to resource and energy areas. China has already built a glass factory in North Korea. Why can’t we do what China is doing?”
Russia Considers Cancellation of 80 percent of North Korean debt
The paper said, “According to the numbers of the Russian government authorities, the 2006 trade figure with North Korea amounted to 210 million dollars and has been reduced by 13 percent compared to the previous year.” In the midst of such a situation, Russia has sufficiently considered the development potential of the North Korean market and is establishing a plan to encroach on the market according to the forecast that “it will be advantageous for the pre-acquiring party.”
According to the paper, President Putin commented, “The economic power with the world’s fastest rate of financial progress is overwhelmingly the Asia-Pacific region.”
The paper also said that because Russia considers of importance the strategic position of North Korea for connecting Europe and Asia-Pacific countries, it has considered the forward-looking way of remitting 80 percent (64 hundred million dollars) of North Korea’s 80 hundred million dollar debt.
The current system of exchange between North Korea and Russia is the former exporting labor power and agricultural goods and latter exporting energy, oil, and raw materials.
The paper reported that there has been opposing public opinion regarding Russia’s investment in North Korea. Because North Korea is not economically well-off, short-term recovery of investment gains is difficult.
The paper pointed out that a Russian merchant Merikonoft, who engages in international trade, said the following, “I do not have immediate plans to invest in North Korea. North Korea does not have laws for protecting foreign capital, so doing business is a type of exploration.”