•  HOME 
  •  BOOKS 
  •  WWP 
  •  DONATE 
  • Loading

Follow workers.org on
Twitter Facebook iGoogle

Socialist Korea focuses on sustainable development

Published Jun 22, 2007 11:11 PM

Not too much has appeared in the U.S. media lately about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In this case, no news is good news.

The socialist north of the Korean peninsula is making gains, despite long-standing economic sanctions and menacing military threats from both Washington and Tokyo. But the corporate media, which have long abused and ridiculed this heroic country, aren’t interested in letting the people of the United States hear about its hard-won achievements.

The DPRK’s economy was built up from scratch after the devastation of the U.S. invasion and war of 1950-53, but took another big hit in the 1990s after the collapse of the USSR. It is now growing in both heavy industry and consumer goods.

The DPRK is building new hydroelectric and tidal power stations to provide clean energy. It has also shown it has the scientific and technological capacity to build a nuclear industry if U.S. imperialism continues to deny it other sources of power.

While expanding its production of machine tools, it is also improving both the quality and quantity of textiles, from cotton and silk to synthetics, and the clothing and household items made from them. Focusing on the development of indigenous resources, its research institutes are working on improving the quality and variety of processed grains and bean paste.

At a recent exhibition of consumer goods in Pyongyang, the capital, 550 different items produced in northern Korea were on display.

An improved power supply has helped make all this possible.

In its planned development, the DPRK is taking environmental issues very seriously. Reforestation is high on its agenda; for example, in March 170,000 chestnut trees were planted in just two counties. It is concerned with the protection of its biodiversity and has set aside large areas of land as nature preserves.

Along its east coast, a large-scale effort has begun to improve water quality and create underwater habitats more conducive to the cultivation of marine animals like abalone, mussels, scallops, sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

The Yanghwa Fishery Station has moved 100,000 cubic meters of granite and gravel from nearby mountains into areas of the seabed to provide more favorable conditions for marine life. Tens of millions of young sea cucumbers and sea urchins are transferred from controlled breeding grounds into these areas in the open sea each year.

In addition to creating a better habitat for these animals, the sea floor in this area now supports a large harvest of kelp and other seaweeds.

The DPRK’s socialist economy makes such large-scale projects possible. These campaigns are integrated with mass education on the importance of protecting and improving the environment. Thus they draw on the people’s participation to improve their own lives and that of the nation.

Korean development is driven by its own needs and not by the intrusion of foreign capital seeking profits from raw materials and cheap labor, as has happened in so much of the world. The Koreans credit their independence to their great revolutionary struggles, first against Japanese colonial rule and then against the division of their country by the U.S. after World War II.

Recently they celebrated several dates symbolic of the unity of the people around their revolutionary leaders and the Workers Party of Korea. One marked the anniversary of the day when Kim Jung Il, the present leader of the DPRK, began working in the Party’s Central Committee.

Another date—June 15—was commemorated for its importance in the efforts to reunify Korea. Seven years ago on June 15 the DPRK and South Korea signed a North-South Joint Declaration laying out steps toward reunifying a people cruelly separated for almost two generations.

Recently, a rail line connecting the two parts of Korea for the first time in over 60 years was inaugurated with great hope. It represented a victory over U.S. imperialism’s politics of division and another tangible step toward peace and cooperation between north and south.

E-mail: [email protected]