Kwangmyongsung 3, Likely to Be Launched on the 13th
“Replace imported goods with domestic products”
The Central Party issued an order to “replace imported goods with domestic products. An official of the Central Party noted that, “since bringing stability to people’s lives is the national priority, we’ve ordered the normalization of the operation of light industry factories to focus on producing people’s consumer goods.” On January 5th, there was an initiative to improve the ratio of domestic to imported products, in Pyongyang’s Gwangbok Department Store, to 40 to 60 by selling the domestic products below market price although the prices may be slightly higher than in state-run stores. Because the department store opened recently, most products are imported from China and so the prices tend to reflect those of Chinese local prices. This modern department store has attracted quite a bit of enthusiasm from Pyongyang residents but, because the prices are too high, the customers are limited to government officials and wealthy people. One member of the Central Party said that, because China’s share of investment amounts to 65%, the majority of goods in the store may continue to be Chinese goods. However, the Party insists that, by normalizing the operation of light industry factories, it plans to concentrate domestic products in state-run stores. The Party claims that if cheap domestic products are supplied on a mass scale, the market for imported goods will gradually decline. While it would be difficult for the time being, due to the limited production of domestic goods, it is expected that the number of imported items that could be traded in domestic markets will be dramatically reduced within two to three years. The leadership calculates that, when the national supply system is completed, the market for imported goods eventually can be shutdown.
If to exaggerate a little, one can claim that there is one defector or a missing person for every two homes. There have been many families that fled to China during the Arduous March, and the numbers of defectors have kept growing since then.
The Safety Bureau heightened people’s ideological lecture every year, and administered public punishments of defectors as a warning, however none worked effectively. Besides, the City Party and People’s Committee of North Hamgyong Province even tried providing some months’ worth of food for the residents of Eunduk County. From 2009, crops produced in Eunduk County were favorably allocated to the county residents after supplying the troops and three border patrol companies stationed there first.
The residents somehow avoided a food crisis that year , but currency reform at the end of 2009 deeply affected businesses. At the time, more people have been engaged in businesses than in farming due to the unsuitable land condition, and as a result the markets almost collapsed because people did not have enough money to purchase goods for their businesses. On top of that, traffic regulation heightened when a missile brigade moved into the town in 2010. The residents, needless to say, have to sacrifice more of their provisions for the military. Coming and going to procure food has become extremely difficult; moreover, the harvest from patch-field farming was poor due to bad weather conditions. The farm workers were provided with only two months’ worth of food to satisfy a whole year’s need. Only the military-affiliated companies and factories are supplied with sufficient provisions. The residents say that they have no choice but to leave their homes for good as living conditions become harsher than the Arduous March. They claim that providing the people with food is the first step to reducing the number of defectors.