ESCAP Ready to Help NK Improve Reliability of Statistical Data

Article excerpt

ESCAP, one of the prominent U.N. bodies in the Asia-Pacific region, is ready to offer technical assistance to North Korea and other developing countries to produce internationally-recognized statistical data, which is the foundation for future assistance by financial institutions, the ESCAP head said yesterday.

``Statistics, compiled by North Korea or some developing countries, are not regarded credible to the international community. One of ESCAP's main functions could be the provision of technical assistance to help them produce reliable statistics,'' said Kim Hak-su, executive secretary of the Bangkok-based U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in an interview with The Korea Times.

Kim, appointed as the ESCAP head by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, is set to take office on July 1.

By assuming the post of under-secretary-general, Kim, 62, who has served as Korean ambassador for international economic affairs, is set to become the highest-ranking Korean at the world body.

As ESCAP is regarded as one of the largest U.N. organizations in Asia and the Pacific with the number of its member countries reaching 61, Kim's appointment is interpreted as Seoul's notable diplomatic triumph, which comes nine years after it joined the U.N.

``ESCAP also plans to offer consultations in a comprehensive manner to North Korea and other transitional economies, which could comprise advice on tax and banking affairs,'' he said.

These preliminary efforts by ESCAP would help the countries secure development loans from such regional organizations as the Asian Development Bank (ADB), he said.

``Although the provision of ADB's loan facility to North Korea also depends on whether the United States, the bank's second largest shareholder, would lift its economic embargoes, ESCAP would help accelerate the process when the environment is ripe,'' he said. …