The Chosun Workers’ Party has ordered the construction of large shopping mall-style marts in provincial cities, seemingly in an attempt to continue developing the reach of the Kim Jong Eun regime’s 'populist' policies. Hitherto, the construction of such modern facilities under Kim Jong Eun has been almost entirely focused in Pyongyang.
Regional administrations are reportedly hoping to try and draw in foreign investment In order to fulfill the central command, which does not come with a budget.
A source from Shinuiju in North Pyongan Province told Daily NK on the 20th, “At the end of last month the Central Party sent down the particulars of an order from the Marshal (Kim Jong Eun) ordering us to place a large mart in Shinuiju. Since the Central Committee doesn’t have the ability to pay for the construction, we immediately passed the issue on to some of our trade companies and told them to make it happen.”
Other regions have received the same order, the source added, but money is, as ever, the main stumbling block. He explained, “Everyone, including the authorities, knows that funding is the most pressing issue here, so they are planning to guarantee those companies that successfully attract capital autonomous management rights.”
Daily NK subsequently moved to verify the story with a source trading with North Korean trade enterprises across the border between Shinuiju and Dandong. “They started calling me frequently about this a while ago, saying it was an important issue” he agreed. “Now whenever I meet them they sound me out about executing the project together.”
The second source added that North Korean trade company employees stationed in China are now looking into not only issues of funding but also how Dandong and elsewhere managed to attract foreign capital for the creation of similar marts. Notably, Dandong already has both a Tesco and a Wal-Mart.
The trade companies are also trying to lure capital by saying that partners will be given the right to sell products in the marts valued at the same level as their initial investment, the trader added.
However, he said, “Since they dispatched the initial order, nothing has actually happened. Investors don’t have any faith in the North Koreans, so doubts remain over whether this will actually happen."