Strategic Resource

North Korea has decided to invest in algal life, and is hoping to harness the organism and use it as a “strategic resource”. Sources believe the country has ventured into the area in the interests of national security.

The news broke on a website on 38 North, a portal, which is a part of Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies focuses on North Korea

Algae are organisms that resemble plants. Algae are known to be a multipurpose resource and can produce food, feedstock, fuel, and fertilizer. In this respect, algae are similar to biomass.

The reason for North Korea’s interest in going green was also explained by the website. The researchers at Johns Hopkins believe that North Korea hopes the algae industry could soon “mitigate the negative effects of sanctions both on the country’s energy supply and food security”.

Although research facilities dedicated to promoting open ponds and aquaculture systems have existed in North Korea since the early 2000s, they have recently become more complex.

North 38 provided examples of two large plants on the website to illustrate this growth. The note accompanying the pictures stated that it was unsurprising that the government was cultivating these algae-producing sites.

In retrospect, North Korea’s investment is understandable, the country is isolated and lacks basic domestic petroleum reserves. It also lacks fertilizer, and has suffered from chronic food shortages for years.

However, the country has refused external inputs, preferring to follow the principle of self-reliance. Self-reliance is stressed upon in North Korea, and is the official state ideology for the country.

Although the country has tried hard to live up to its ideology, it has been forced to accept imports of food and fuel to survive. For years, China has been Pyongyang’s trading partner. However, in light of North Korea’s recent nuclear fetish, the United Nation has passed certain resolutions, banning Beijing from exporting energy to the country.


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