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Foundations of Energy Security for the DPRK: 1990-2009 Energy Balances, Engagement Options, and Future Paths for Energy and Economic Redevelopment

  • AUTHORDavid von Hippel and Peter Hayes, Nautilus Institute
  • Dec 18, 2012

Energy demand and supply in general—and, arguably, demand for and supply of electricity in particular—have played a key role in many high-profile issues involving North Korea, and have played and will play a central role in the resolution of the ongoing confrontation between North Korea and much of the international community over the North’s nuclear weapons program. Energy sector issues will continue to be a key to the resolution of the crisis, as underscored by the formation of a Working Group under the Six-Party Talks that was (and nominally, still is) devoted to the issue of energy and economic assistance to the DPRK.

The purpose of this report is to provide policy-makers and other interested parties with an overview of the demand for and supply of the various forms of energy used in the DPRK in six years during the last two decades:

1990, the year before much of the DPRK’s economic and technical support from the Soviet Union was withdrawn;

1996, thought by some to be one of the most meager years of the difficult economic 1990s in the DPRK; and

2000, a year that has been perceived by some observers as a period of modest economic “recovery” in the DPRK, as well as a marker of the period before the start, in late 2002, of a period of renewed political conflict between the DPRK, the United States, and it neighbors in Northeast Asia over the DPRK’s nuclear weapons development program; and

2005, also a year in which observers have again noted an upward trend in some aspects of the DPRK economy, as well as the most recent year for which any published estimates on the DPRK’s energy sector and economy are available.

2008, the last year in which the DPRK received heavy fuel oil from its negotiating partners in the Six-Party talks; and

2009, the most recent year for which we have analyzed the DPRK’s energy sector.

To read the full report, please click here.