Ministry of External Economic Relations
The Ministry of External Economic Relations is North Korea's foreign trade ministry. The ministry's headquarters are at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang. The current minister is Kim Yong-jae and the vice minister O Ryong-chol. The ministry was established in 2014 when its predecessor, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, fused with the Joint Venture Investment Committee the State Economic Development Commission to revive the ministry that had been marred by economic sanctions against North Korea.
Ministry of External Economic Relations on Kim Il-sung Square
|Headquarters||Kim Il-sung Square, Pyongyang|
|Deputy Minister responsible|
|Parent agency||Cabinet of North Korea|
|Revised Romanization||Dae-oe Gyeongjaeseong|
The Ministry of Foreign Trade was newly established in September 1998 following the adoption of the new 1998 "Kim Il-sung Constitution". It initially oversaw all international economic activities. Some of its tasks were delegated to two organizations founded in 2010 and 2013, respectively: The Joint Venture Investment Committee (JVIC) was established to handle foreign investment and the State Economic Development Commission (SEDC) to manage the Special Economic Zones of North Korea. Gradually, because of sanctions against North Korea, the Foreign Trade Ministry became inoperable.
In 2012, prominent portraits of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin were removed from the facade of the ministry on Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang, which observers took for indirect sings of change brought about by the leadership of Kim Jong-un.
The present ministry was created on 8 June 2014 when the Ministry of Foreign Trade fused with the JVIC, and SEDC. All three constituent organizations had been affiliates in the Cabinet of North Korea. It is likely that they had much overlap in their tasks. According to the Institute for Far Eastern Studies: "the creation of this new Cabinet-affiliated ministry can be interpreted as an attempt to reach a breakthrough in North Korea's stagnating international economic cooperation ... a measure taken to increase the efficiency of decision-making and implementation of foreign trade-related issues, and to put an end to the confusion and inefficient inter-competition that arose out of the creation of these additional agencies".
The ministry opened a website in October 2018. According to Martyn Wililams of North Korea Tech, the website came "at an interesting time as Kim Jong Un has pegged economic development as a major goal for the country, as South Korean companies are weighing projects that could help relations between the two Koreas but as the international community has some of the strictest sanctions ever on the country".
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- Chin Gil Sang (1998). "Review of DPRK's Revised Constitution (1)". The People's Korea. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
- "North Korea Establishes 'Ministry of External Economic Affairs' to Oversee Economic Cooperation and Attraction of Foreign Capital". IFES. 26 June 2014. Archived from the original on 18 June 2014.
- "Lenin and Marx portraits removed from Pyongyang's central square". PravdaReport. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
- "DPRK creates Ministry of External Economic Affairs". North Korean Economy Watch. 18 June 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
- "North Korea's Ministry of External Economic Affairs stresses business at economic development zones is gaining momentum". North Korean Economy Watch. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
- "Rodong Sinmun calls for strengthening the cabinet in economic matters". North Korean Economy Watch. 5 September 2014. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
- Williams, Martyn (17 October 2018). "North Korea launches another new website, this time for international trade". North Korea Tech. Retrieved 17 October 2018.