Hungnam Fertilizer Complex Update: Strategic Modernization for Multi-Purpose Use?

Infrastructure & Energy, Military, Nuclear Weapons
, by and The Hungnam Fertilizer Complex has long been associated with producing chemical feed stocks or agents for North Korea’s nuclear weapons, chemical weapons and ballistic missile programs. Any modernization or improvement in its production capacities warrant close monitoring as they have the potential to support or augment WMD capabilities.

Kim Zeroes in on Fertilizer Production: The Latest Activity at the Hungnam Liquid Nutrient Fertilizer Factory

Environment, Infrastructure & Energy
, by and The latest undertaking at the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex, one of North Korea’s oldest and largest chemical complexes, is the construction of a small “liquid nutrient fertilizer factory.” The construction and future operation of this new liquid nutrient fertilizer factory is a further manifestation of the continuing efforts under Kim Jong-un to increase agricultural production by expanding and diversifying domestic fertilizer production capabilities.

Making Solid Tracks: North Korea-China Railroad Crossing at Manpo-Jian

Infrastructure & Energy
Photo credit: Matt Acevedo's Flickr photo stream. Railroad Near Krome at Sunrise. https://www.flickr.com/photos/130441601@N08/16428347166/in/photostream/
, by and Widely considered as a midterm referendum on President Moon, the April electoral victory will breathe new life into his administration’s heretofore stalled diplomatic efforts with North Korea, a key pillar of which is inter-Korean railway cooperation. In the context of South Korea's renewed efforts in inter-Korean railway cooperation, Beyond Parallel reviews the railway connections of the Korean peninsula.

Making Solid Tracks: North Korea’s Railway Connections with China and Russia

Infrastructure & Energy
, by , and Should inter-Korean cooperation result in the re-connection of the railways in North and South Korea, the rail networks of the Korean peninsula could then be integrated into a rail network spanning the Eurasian continent through China and Russia. If actualized, this would mark a significant diplomatic and geopolitical accomplishment for the Korean peninsula. Nonetheless, a long and significant modernization process will need to take place to fully integrate the systems in a commercially viable way.

Making Solid Tracks: North and South Korean Railway Cooperation

Infrastructure & Energy
, by , and North and South Korea are moving forward with inter-Korean railway cooperation as a key engine for advancing inter-Korean reconciliation and building the infrastructure for eventual unification. Once connected, however, a significant modernization and harmonization process will need to take place to fully integrate the systems in a commercially viable way.

Pyongyang Gas Stations and Fluctuating Fuel Prices

Economics, Foreign Affairs, Infrastructure & Energy
, by and In July and September 2017, unconfirmed reports circulated about dramatically fluctuating gasoline and diesel prices in North Korea. There were also reports that China was planning to suspend or limit fuel exports to North Korea. Analysis of satellite imagery from around this period indicates that a fuel suspension of any significant length does not appear to have affected Pyongyang.

Unification Transparency Index: Allied Views of China and Japan

Analysis, Economics, Environment, Foreign Affairs, Governance, Health, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aid, Infrastructure & Energy, Legal, Military, Nuclear Weapons, Refugees & Migration
, by South Korea and the United States generally share similar estimations of China’s and Japan’s blind spots in a unification scenario. Both believe that Beijing has the most prominent blind spot on domestic stabilization and refugees, and that Japan shares similar concerns, suggesting that all four powers could prioritize law and order in a unification scenario.