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
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
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.
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