Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spectacularly Bad Chosun Ilbo Report Alert

Wasted my time reading this in today's Chosun Ilbo;
North Korea is about to spend an estimated US$2 billion, or one third of its annual budget, to mark the centenary of nation founder Kim Il-sung on April 15, plus an additional $850 million to build a three-stage rocket and launch pad for the event. The total would be enough to buy 4.75 million tons of rice based on current grain prices at $600 per ton as the regime holds out its hands for international food aid. 
North Korea's state budget last year was $5.7 billion, and the price tag of the centenary celebration has been estimated to be around $2 billion, according to a South Korean government source. The North invited representatives from 48 countries to Pyongyang for the centenary. 
An official from a former Soviet state said, "North Korea invited around 100 representatives from our country and offered to pay their airfare and accommodation. I've been to Pyongyang several times, but this is the first time this has happened." The official said hundreds of dancers and other performers have been invited from other countries "and I believe the delegation of foreign guests is close to 10,000." 
The regime apparently promised its people 100 gifts for the centenary. A Unification Ministry official said North Korea has spent anywhere between $300 million and $800 million every five or 10 years on the April 15th celebrations, and this year is expected to spend at least $1 billion. That is more or less the entire $1.15 billion it earned from selling anthracite and other natural resources to China last year.
This article contains not only highly questionable mathematics at the front end, but also a complete and absolute lack of hard facts of any kind whatsoever throughout. Frankly, while I would like to believe that "an official from a former Soviet state" was spoken to during the report's making, I am afraid I cannot. Further to which, even in the unlikely event that such an individual were hunted down by the Chosun's intrepid reporters, would that person have any basis upon which to guesstimate the scale of the foreign contingent that will be in Pyongyang to celebrate?


I would imagine that the North is indeed about to spunk far, far more money than it can afford on April 15th events, yes; but this article does not offer believable evidence to back the claim, and in the end it does all of us a disservice to actually publish stuff this bad.

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