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North Korea: Witness to Transformation

Not Satire: North Korea-Syria

by | November 11th, 2012 | 07:00 am
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We are having a hard time avoiding “not satire” stories. But just when you thought they couldn’t get any better…

North Korea–located in the most economically dynamic region in the world–just signed an economic cooperation agreement with a failing dictatorship mired in civil war half a world away.

One serious concern given past history is the mention of “science and technology” in the agreement. Is there a proliferation angle?

The move should not be surprising, however; evidence of a willingness to reform–which would obviously begin closer to home–is pretty scant. No sooner had my colleague Marc Noland summarized our skepticism about the reforms when WSJ Korea Real Time reported discouraging new information from two Japanese sources. Kansai University professor Lee Young Hwa and Rimjingang editor Jiro Ishimaru independently report on interviews suggesting that a new wave of price controls are coming. Our theory: the government simply doesn’t have—or doesn’t understand—the tools to control the accelerating inflation we have documented.

N. Korea, Syria strike economic cooperation agreement: KCNA

SEOUL, Nov. 5 (Yonhap) — North Korea has forged an agreement with Syria to increase cooperation on trading and the exchange of technologies, the North’s state media said Monday.

The Joint Economic Committee between the North and Syria held its eighth meeting since Oct. 30 till Monday in Pyongyang, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) monitored in Seoul said.

In the meeting, both countries assessed the state of implementation of the protocol forged in the previous meeting while signing another protocol on economic trading and cooperation over technologies and science, the KCNA said without elaborating further.

The North’s Foreign Trade Minister Ri Ryong-nam headed the North side while Syria’s Minister of Culture Loubana Mouchaweh led its delegation to Pyongyang, the state media said.