Income Gap Between North and South Korea Grows

      December 17, 2014 09:36

      North Korea's per capita gross national income was less than five percent of South Korea's last year, according to data.

      Statistics Korea on Tuesday said that the North's per capital GNI stood at W1.38 million (US$1=W1,088) in 2013, just 4.8 percent of South Korea's W28.7 million. The gap is even bigger than in 2012, when South Korea's per capita GNI was 18.7 times the North's.

      The North's trade volume reached a paltry US$7.3 billion, up $500 million on-year but still 146 times smaller than the South's $1.07 trillion.

      The South produced 55 times as much steel and seven times as much cement as the North, which are major indicators of the mining and manufacturing industries. The South also has 12 times as much electricity generation capacity.

      There are 19.4 million registered cars in the South, more than 71 times the 271,900 in the North.

      Statistics Korea for the first time published North Korea's import and export volumes.

      The North had $6.5 billion worth of trade with China, accounting for 89 percent of its total trade volume. This shows that the North's reliance on China has deepened over the past decade. Until 2000, the North's trade with China stood at a mere 24.7 percent of its trade volume.

      The North exported chiefly minerals (65 percent), clothes (17 percent), and fishery products (4 percent) to China, while importing petroleum (20 percent), machinery (7 percent), and electronic goods (7 percent) from it.

      Cho Bong-hyun of the IBK Economic Research Institute said, "Seoul needs to help the North develop toward a market economy, because the more the economic gap widens between the two Koreas, the bigger the reunification cost will be."

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