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Present Conditions of North Korean Industry and Possible Reconstruction Plans
Author: Lim Soo-ho
Published July 18, 2017
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Since the collapse of industry during the 'Arduous March' (1995-1997), Pyongyang has continuously launched reconstruction plans but has failed to see a rebound. The key is to restore industrial linkages; however, the DPRK allocated a majority of state investment to the defense industry under the 'Military First Economic Policy.' As long as the 'strategic sector' retains priority, a sound outcome seems to be out of reach. In reality, North Korea's comparative advantage lies on labor-intensive business, with abundant labor forces at a low cost. After unification, such industries will have bright prospects with technology and capital not only from South Korea, but also from China and Japan. The economic integration scenario of the two Koreas — whether radical or gradual — will decide industrial policies for the upper half of the peninsula in the post-unification era.

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