From Xinhua today - Cuba and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed here on Thursday to sign two protocols on trade as well as scientific and technical development.
These documents were signed by the island's minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, and DPRK ambassador to Cuba, Pak Chang Yul.
The trade protocol established the exchange of goods between both parties through a barter agreement in favor of supplies for Cuba's Railway Union and the sugar industry.
The agreements will also support other sectors such as healthcare, higher education, culture, sports and agriculture, among others.
Both Malmierca and Pak agreed that there exists a strong political will between Havana and Pyongyang to develop their economic and science links.
Cuba and the DPRK established diplomatic relations on Aug. 28, 1960, and have maintained relations in trade and commerce while supporting each other in international political forums.
At present, the Caribbean island and the Asian country have ties in education, oil, agriculture and trade.
KBC has long supported sports as a means to building business contacts between the DPRK and the world. (See our 2006 golf event in Pyongyang.) So we were pleased to read this in Reuters:
A Canadian man behind a series of trips to North Korea by basketball hall of famer Dennis Rodman is organizing an ice hockey tournament that may draw former National Hockey League (NHL) players to the isolated country.
Read the rest here.
This comes at a time when Canada and North Korea are not on good terms, what with the sentencing of a Canadian pastor to a life sentence with hard labor recently being given. The game could be an opportunity for some high ranking official from Ottawa to fly over and bring the pastor back, as is the usual plan when Westerners are detained and sentenced to long prison sentences in the DPRK, but we're not holding our breath.
Yonhap -- Trade volume between South and North Korea reached an all-time high in 2015 despite strained inter-Korean ties over the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons, a trade association here said Thursday.
Trade between the two Koreas came to US$2.71 billion last year, up 15.8 percent from a year earlier, according to the data provided by the Korea International Trade Association. The figure was the largest ever on record.
South Korea's shipments to the North grew 11 percent on-year to $1.26 billion, while its imports from the communist country expanded 20.3 percent to $1.45 billion, the data showed.
Inter-Korean trade surpassed the $1 billion mark in 2005, when the industrial park built in the border city of Kaesong went into operation in full swing. The amount neared $2 billion in 2012.
The trade, however, has been swayed by the ups and downs in relations between the two countries, which technically remain at war after the 1950-53 war ended in a truce.
Recently, the North claimed that it has successfully conducted a hydrogen bomb test, rocking relations with the South.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) announced Tuesday it will open a bureau in Pyongyang, becoming only the second global news agency to establish a permanent presence in the North Korean capital.
The newswire signed an agreement with the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Paris, which will allow AFP to open an office in the nation where few foreign news organisations maintain full-time operations.
"The establishment of an AFP bureau in Pyongyang in the near future will help expand the agency's international network," said AFP's chief executive and chairman Emmanuel Hoog.
"AFP needs to be present all over the world to fulfil its mission of reporting news as fully as possible, notably through the medium of images," he added.
AFP's global coverage is governed by the principles of objective, accurate and balanced reporting.
Its Pyongyang bureau, which will produce photo, video and also text news, will be operational by the middle of 2016.
The office will be composed of two permanent North Korean staff who will work under the supervision of AFP's Asia regional management and work closely with a team of AFP foreign correspondents who will be selected to carry out regular reporting trips to the northeast Asian nation.
AFP will join only a handful of foreign media organisations that have offices in the North Korean capital, including the Associated Press, Kyodo news agency of Japan and Beijing's Xinhua agency.
AFP, one of the world's three major news agencies and originally formed in 1835, operates more than 200 bureaus in some 150 countries around the world.
From Daily NK:
Recent reports have revealed that the practice of leasing portions of state-run enterprises out to the nouveau riche class, known as donju [literally, ‘money masters’], are thriving in North Korea. As more and more donju emerge, fueled by the rise in market activity in the North, state-run enterprises are increasingly renting out portions of factories in return for much-needed cash.
SEOUL: North Korea may send a delegation to the World Economic Forum meeting in Switzerland for the first time in 18 years, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported on Monday, a sign that it sees international engagement as a way to bolster its economy.
Yonhap cited unidentified sources as saying North Korea was in talks with organisers to send a delegation to the annual event in the town of Davos, which attracts heavyweights from the worlds of business and politics.
A World Economic Forum spokeswoman declined to give details on attendees ahead of the Jan. 13 release of a list of participants list. The conference takes place on Jan. 20-23.
North Korea is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and missile programmes, and struggles to attract investment. It last sent a delegation to the forum in 1998, Yonhap said.
Yonhap said the North Korean delegation would be led by Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong, who spent two decades in Switzerland as ambassador and representative at the United Nations in Geneva.
Ri acted as surrogate father to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un when Kim was a student at a Swiss school.
Kim, believed to be in his early 30s, focused on development of the economy during a New Year's Day speech.
"We should concentrate all our efforts on building an economic giant to bring about a fresh turn in developing the country's economy and improving the people's standard of living," he said.