Thursday, December 15, 2005

Gap Widen Between North and South Korea

Korea Times notes...

The gross national incomes (GNI) of South Korea and the North Korea showed the widest gap ever in 2004.

The National Statistical Office (NSO) said that South Korea’s GNI, the nation’s real purchasing power, was 32.8 times larger than that of the reclusive communist nation last year.

A statistical comparison between the two Koreas released Thursday by the NSO showed that North Korea’s GNI stood at $20.8 billion last year, far smaller than $681 billion of the South.

Per-capita gross national income of the South reached $14,162, about 1,550 percent greater than the North’s $914. The gap in per person national income widened from $5,005 in 1990 to $10,398 in 1995, $10,084 in 2000 and $11,902 in 2003.

The widening gap is attributed to a recent surge in the South’s per capita national income, which jumped to $12,720 in 2003 from $11,499 in 2002, and the dwindling income of the North.

The North’s per capital national income shrank to $757 in 2000 from $1,142 in 1990, but recovered slightly to $818 in 2003.

Seoul and Pyongyang revealed greater disparity in gross annual trade. The combined exports and imports of the South totaled $478.31 billion in 2004, about 167 times greater than $2.86 billion of the North.

Widening Gap Is Not Only for GNI

The gap in trade between the South and the North peaked in 1999, when the South’s trade was 178 times greater than the North’s. The North managed to narrow the gap down to 139.2 times in 2002 but it again widened to 155.9 times in 2003.

The inter-Korean merchandise transaction contracted by 3.8 percent from a year ago to $697.04 million.

The disparity was also evident in oil demand. The South imported a total of 825.79 million barrels of crude oil in 2004, 211.7 times as much as 3.9 million barrels purchased by the North.

The South had 60 times as many automobiles as the North with the former owning a total of 14.93 million units and the latter 249,000 units.

Compared with the figures in 1970, the number of cars in the North grew only 360 percent in 2004 while that in the South increased by over 100 times.

In addition, the South had 293 civil aircrafts while the North owned a mere 20.

The South’s population amounted to 48.08 million, twice the North’s 22.71 million. South Korea ranks 25th in the world by population and North Korea 47th. When combined, Korea has the 18th-biggest population in the world.

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