S.Korean electricity survey team visits N.Korea

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at SPAMbom4.vsnl.net.in
Wed Feb 14 17:31:29 MST 2001


Thursday
8 February 2001

S.Korean electricity survey team visits N.Korea
SEOUL, South Korea: A 25-member South Korean delegation left for North Korea
on Wednesday on a four-day mission aimed at surveying the level of energy
shortages in the impoverished communist country.
The delegation, led by Yoo Chang-mu, a counselor for energy affairs at the
Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy, was to arrive in the North's
capital, Pyongyang, via Beijing later in the day.
In high-level government talks in December, North Korea requested that South
Korea provide it with 500,000 kilowatts of electricity to help ease acute
energy shortages.
South Korea insisted that it would consider the North Korean request only
after officials of both country jointly assessed Pyongyang's power
situation.
South Korean officials in Seoul said the visitors were expected to get a
briefing from the North Korean on the communist country's overall power
supply and demand and visit one or two power plants.
According to South Korean figures, North Korea has dozens of power plants
capable of generating 7.3 million kilowatts of electricity but can actually
produce only 2 million kilowatts because of outdated facilities and fuel
shortages.
Like food shortfalls, North Korea's energy shortages are serious. Outside
visitors reported seeing many factories in the North standing idle or
operating at rates far below their capacities.
Even in the country's showcase capital, Pyongyang, many homes and buildings
were without electricity or heating in winter, they said. South Korean
officials who visited North Korea in late January for Red Cross talks said
they had to go to bed wearing overcoats because their hotel was not heated
enough.
Since the first-ever summit of their leaders in June, the Koreas have
significantly expanded economic and other exchanges. Many believe that the
North's move to open up to the outside world is to seek economic benefits.
The Koreas were divided into the communist North and the capitalist South in
1945. They fought a three-year war in the early 1950s. (AP)
For reprint rights:Times Syndication Service







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