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FILE PHOTO: The Sino-North Korean Friendship Bridge, which connects the Chinese city of Dandong with the North Korean city of Sinuiju. (Daily NK)

Yanggang Province’s party committee has recently criticized the province’s trade management bureau for relying too much on foreign trade, Daily NK has learned. 

A source in Yanggang Province told Daily NK on Friday that the provincial party committee slammed the bureau “for being hung up on trade and lacking the knowledge to get results.” It further emphasized that “foreign dependence is the path to national destruction.”

Yanggang Province’s party committee’s harsh criticism of the province’s trade management bureau appears aimed at encouraging it to change its traditional way of thinking. The criticism focuses particularly on the fact that the bureau has shown no innovation or progress in carrying out government plans during the COVID-19 pandemic because it has “hung all its hopes” on foreign trade opportunities.

According to the source, the provincial party committee told the bureau that “everyone knows that relying on trade is the easiest way,” and that continuing to “stand at the crossroads while the border is closed” due to COVID-19 will “lead to ruin.”

The committee pointed out that “the trade bureau believes that the lesson learned from the three-year border closure is that unless there is smuggling or trade, the country will not survive.”

The committee also remarked that despite the difficulties faced by Yanggang Province’s people, nobody has died because they could not smuggle or trade.

“Everyone didn’t die or fall to ruin. They’re surviving,” it claimed, adding, “People are having a tough time, but they are finding a way to survive. The trade bureau is doing a worse job than ordinary people.”


In fact, the provincial party committee criticized trade-related agencies for spreading rumors that the border would soon open, which encouraged people to think they will be able to engage in smuggling if the border opens.

Specifically, the committee called on trade-related agencies in the province to stop saying “words treasonous to the Workers’ Party and the leader,” and halt any “arbitrary interpretation of Workers’ Party policy and rumor mongering without a basis on revolutionary principle amid a chaotic and complicated environment.”

The committee ordered officials at the provincial trade management bureau, employees at the bureau’s subordinate trade agencies, people working at relevant enterprises and customs agencies, and even the families of these employees to keep a close eye on the actions of people who say things that sow chaos in the government’s unitary control over trade. It also emphasized that people must inform the authorities in a timely fashion about these actions and report incidents to party organizations.

The committee further stressed that reliance on foreign forces amid a tense confrontation with the “three main enemies” – the United States, Japan and South Korea – is “the path to national destruction and [akin to] stabbing yourself in the eye.”

“The understanding and words of those who say trade and smuggling are Yanggang Province’s road to survival constitute a path to national destruction and treason,” the committee said, calling on the party organizations of trade agencies to keep a tight rein on their organizations so that employees work and live according to Workers’ Party policy under the principles of independence and self-reliance.

Furthermore, Yanggang Province’s party committee criticized the impact of trade officials wildly buying up foreign currency and driving up consumer prices amid “misjudgements and misleading statements” over when trade or smuggling can restart.

In relation to this, the committee ordered the province’s police and security agencies to “keep a keen eye on trade officials and trading agencies that wildly buy up foreign currency.”

Translated by David Black. Edited by Robert Lauler. 

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