The power of Jang Sung Taek in the North Korean commercial sector was reaffirmed on September 16th, as satellite imagery researcher Curtis Melvin revealed details of a new skyscraper being constructed in Pyongyang to host the North East Asia Bank (NEAB). The bank is said to be one of Jang’s major business interests.
Melvin was speaking to an audience of professionals, academics and students at “Lifting the Fog,” an academic forum hosted by Daily NK at the British Embassy in central Seoul.
A researcher with the US-Korea Institute at SAIS (Johns Hopkins University), he explained that not only is the new bank headquarters one of the largest new commercial buildings in the North Korean capital, it is also one of the best, with a Chinese company reportedly handling the construction.
Elsewhere, Melvin provided fresh insight into one of the North Korean regime’s latest propaganda narratives, the construction of a 21-building area of new apartments for scientists and academics known as “Scientists’ Street.” He described the development of the region over time, noting that satellite imagery is ideal for revealing the true nature of the construction project; it lies “just down the street” from North Korea’s rocket launch command and control center, he explained.
The September 16th event, led by Daily NK Director of Development Gregory Pence, Manager of International Affairs Chris Green, and Director of Business Affairs Yang Jung A, also featured a revealing lecture by Professor Andrei Lankov of Kookmin University, who conveyed the true difficulty of maintaining absolutist dictatorship in the hi-tech 21st Century.