[Photo] North Korean trading companies scramble to secure raw materials for Ryomyong Street

Seol Song Ah  |  2016-06-08 23:43
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Following in the wake of a five-year economic plan laid out at the recent 7th Party Congress, North Korea has launched an ambitious 200-Day Battle in an effort to keep its citizenry mobilized. In parallel, North Korean trading companies have been ordered to secure raw materials for construction purposes as a show of loyalty, resulting in mass shipments of construction materials arriving in North Korea via the port of Dandong, China.

A source close to North Korean affairs in China told Daily NK on June 2 that a mere two days after the commencement of the 200-Day Battle, a number of North Korean trading companies scrambled to secure the necessary construction materials for the recently announced Ryomyong Street project.

Due to the fact that Kim Jong Un himself gave the procurement orders, much emphasis (occurring at criticism and self-criticism sessions) was placed on the success of the Ryomyong Street project as being indicative of the battles overall outcome and demonstrative of loyalty to the regime, the source explained.

On March 18, North Koreas state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that Kim Jong Un announced further construction along Ryomyong Street, which will connect Kumsusan (Palace of the Sun) and the Ryonghung crossroads in Pyongyang. Construction officially broke ground on April 3 with a deadline for completion set before the end of the year.

Construction materials earmarked for Ryomyong Street construction await processing at the Dandong
distribution center (June 1, 2016).

Kim Jong Un ordered the magnificent skyscrapers and multi-level buildings that compliment [sic] the geographical characteristics around the palace be promptly built as a show of strength in the face of far-reaching sanctions squeezing North Korea.

Irrespective of their hardships, North Korean trading companies must find a way to import the raw materials necessary in order to demonstrate their loyalty to the leader [or face draconian repercussions], the source said.

The leadership is allegedly so focused on the project that North Korean trading companies were instructed to specifically concentrate on importing construction materials for Ryomyong Street over foreign currency-earning operations for the month of June. At present, North Korean trading companies allegedly plan to import over 10,000 tons of building materials during the 200-Day Battle.

Dandong distribution center. North Korean trading companies mobilized for the '200-Day Battle' ship
materials toconstruction sites along Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang.

An additional source in China has spoken with many of the trading companies affected by the Ryomyong Street demands. Most company owners thought theyd be able to get back to earning money for their operations, and by extension themselves, now that the 7th Party Congress has ended, the source said, but concerns are mounting that they are cemented in an immutable errand boy role for the regime at the expense of their own livelihoods.

*Translated by Phillip Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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