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Report: NK Turning Into China`s `Industrial Waste Dump`

Posted November. 26, 2009 09:03,   

Updated January. 01, 1970 09:00

한국어

North Korean organizations in charge of raising foreign currency are bringing in and burying industrial waste from China for money, a report released yesterday said.

The report also said North Korean scientists who complained that their country is turning into China’s industrial waste site have been purged in North Korea.

Daily NK, a media outlet on North Korean affairs, quoted a source in the North’s South Hamkyong Province as saying, “The soil survey research center at Hamhung Institute of Technology released a research paper on its study of land pollution resulting from burial of industrial waste from China and a letter urging countermeasures to the Central Committee of the (North Korean) Workers’ Party. The institute was dismantled and senior officials and researchers were all purged.”

“The research paper details how China’s industrial waste is sent to North Korea and dumped,” the source said, adding, “It also strongly warns against the practice of North Korean factories lacking sewage treatment facilities and freely dumping sewage into rivers freely.”

One North Korean scientist said, “Our country in effect is turning into China’s industrial waste site,” adding, “Even tap water in Pyongyang has become so polluted that it is no longer potable.”

The source also said North Korean scientists sent the research paper and the letter to committee secretary Choe Tae Bok. The committee soon closed the institute and purged its staff, saying, “The scientists violated rules by reporting the matter directly to the party secretary without going through the required process.”

North Korea is reportedly taking in foreign industrial waste in secret in the form of its border trade with China.

Dong Yong-seung, head of the economics and security team at Samsung Economic Research Institute in Seoul, said, “Though no data is available that can tell us the exact situation, Chinese companies might believe that sending industrial waste to North Korea for burial is cheaper than disposing of it in China in compliance with Chinese environmental regulations.

North Korea is also not just bringing in waste just from China. Former North Korean defector Kim Heung-kwang, now head of a coalition of former North Korean intelligentsia in South Korea, said, “Companies that earn foreign currencies brought in waste vinyl from Germany and France for 300 U.S. dollars per ton in early 2000 and buried it in soil.”

Certain North Korean agencies that raised foreign currency earned double profit by reselling goods China and other countries paid to have thrown away instead of disposing of them.

Former North Korean defector Kang Chol-hyon, now a researcher at the Institute for National Security and Strategy in Seoul, said, “Agencies that raise foreign currency bring in thrown away plastic containers, tires and cooking oil from China and elsewhere, and often sell them on the market.”



kyle@donga.com