Economic Gap Yawns Even Wider

The income gap between North and South Korea is becoming ever wider, according to statistics released yesterday by Statistics Korea showing that South Korea’s per capita Gross National Income (GNI) in 2010 was $27,592, 19.3 times that of North Korea at $1,074. Last year the gap was 18.4 times.

In the (legal) foreign trade sector, the two Koreas also lived very differently. South Korea’s 2012 trading volume was $891.6 billion, 212.3 times North Korea’s $4.2 billion. North Korea’s exports were worth just $15 billion, its imports $27 billion.

As expected, North Korea’s trade reliance on China was highly significant (56.9%), partly because as strained inter-Korean relations started to bite, so inter-Korean trade declined as well: from 33.0% in 2009 to 31.4% in 2010.

Meanwhile, 61.0% of adults in South Korea are economically active, a number which rises to 70.2% in North Korea. Conversely, there are 3,134,000 college students in South Korea, but only 510,000 in North Korea.

In the energy industry sector in 2010, South Korea imported 872,415,000 barrels of crude oil, 226.4 times more than North Korea’s 3,854,000. The electricity generating capacity of South Korea is 10.9 times more than that of North Korea, too, though the generated amount was actually around 20 times bigger, the statistics allege.

Automobile production was no better; in South Korea (4,272,000), 1,068 times more than North Korea (4,000). Steel production in South Korea was 46.1 times that of North Korea, cement was 7.6 times more, and fertilizer 6.1 times.