[Photo] North Korean trading companies scramble to secure raw materials for Ryomyong Street

Following in the wake of a five-year economic plan laid out
at the recent 7th Party Congress, North Korea has launched an ambitious
“200-Day Battle” in an effort to keep its citizenry mobilized. In parallel,
North Korean trading companies have been ordered to secure raw materials for
construction purposes as a show of ‘loyalty,’ resulting in mass shipments of
construction materials arriving in North Korea via the port of Dandong, China.

A source close to North Korean affairs in China told Daily
NK on June 2 that a mere two days after the commencement of the “200-Day
Battle,” a number of North Korean trading companies scrambled to secure the
necessary construction materials for the recently announced Ryomyong Street

“Due to the fact that Kim Jong Un himself gave the
procurement orders, much emphasis (occurring at criticism and self-criticism
sessions) was placed on the success of the Ryomyong Street project as being
indicative of the battle’s overall outcome and demonstrative of loyalty to the
regime,” the source explained.

On March 18, North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim Jong Un announced further construction along “Ryomyong Street,” which will connect Kumsusan (Palace of the Sun) and the Ryonghung crossroads in Pyongyang. Construction officially broke ground on April 3 with a deadline for completion set before the end of the year.

Construction materials earmarked for Ryomyong Street construction await processing at the Dandong
distribution center (June 1, 2016).

Kim Jong Un ordered the “magnificent skyscrapers and
multi-level buildings that compliment [sic] the geographical characteristics around
the palace” be promptly built as a show of strength in the face of far-reaching
sanctions squeezing North Korea.

“Irrespective of their hardships, North Korean trading
companies must find a way to import the raw materials necessary in order to
demonstrate their loyalty to the leader [or face draconian repercussions],” the
source said.

The leadership is allegedly so focused on the project that
North Korean trading companies were instructed to specifically concentrate on
importing construction materials for Ryomyong Street over foreign
currency-earning operations for the month of June. At present, North Korean
trading companies allegedly plan to import over 10,000 tons of building
materials during the “200-Day Battle.”

Dandong distribution center. North Korean trading companies mobilized for the ‘200-Day Battle’ ship
materials toconstruction sites along Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang.

An additional source in China has spoken with many of the
trading companies affected by the Ryomyong Street demands. “Most company owners
thought they’d be able to get back to earning money for their operations, and
by extension themselves, now that the 7th Party Congress has ended,” the source
said, “but concerns are mounting that they are cemented in an immutable ‘errand
boy’ role for the regime at the expense of their own livelihoods.”

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