A widely reported story about North Korea attracting $10 billion in Chinese and international investment through its newly-formed Taepung International Investment Group has been confirmed as false by South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS).
The director of the NIS, Won Sei Hoon passed on the confirmation to a closed-door meeting of the Intelligence Committee of the National Assembly on Tuesday, after which members Chung Jin Suk of the Grand National Party and Park Young Sun of the Democratic Party revealed it to the press.
According to the two lawmakers, Won told the Committee, “Although North Korea is likely going around trying to invite 10 billion dollars of foreign investment, it seems that they have not attracted that much capital,” before predicting, “Unless the North solves the nuclear problem, it will be almost impossible to attract that much capital.”
He did add, however, “The Cabinet, Workers’ Party, military authorities and National Defense Commission have all seemingly been moving to try and obtain foreign capital. The appeasement attitude shown to the international community may be a part of their efforts to solve the problem of a lack of foreign currency.”
During the closed-doors meeting, Won also gave his opinion on a wide range of other issues pertaining to North Korea, including the inter-Korean dialogue and the truth of Kim Jong Il’s health status.
“It is not a deadlock situation because there is still dialogue,” Won said of the inter-Korean relationship. However, “Since North Korea’s attitude has not changed yet; it will take more time to resume the tours of Mt. Geumgang and Kaesong.”
Commenting on Kim Jong Il’s probable health condition, Won revealed that Kim has been making an effort to appear healthy, for example by removing age spots on his face, but, “While he has been visiting industrial sites, he has expressed nervousness about current issues and economic problems, and has a sharpened temper. His tendency of relying on old acquaintances and family members has been increasing.”
However, “I believe there is zero possibility of a coup. For the time being, it seems that the North Korean leadership can control its domestic society.”