North Korea Closes Largest Unofficial Market

But it can’t be! Victor Cha, Selig Harrison, Keith Luse, Frank Januzzi, and every Peace Studies professor in South Korea can’t all be wrong!

North Korea has shut down its largest unofficial market in a sign that the Communist government was intent on quashing, or at least better controlling, market activities that it had tolerated for years, Seoul-based organizations monitoring the country said last week.

The market, on the outskirts of Pyongyang, was closed sometime in June and vendors were dispersed to two or three smaller nearby markets, according to the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights, or NKNet, which says it monitors the North using informants from inside the country. [N.Y. Times]

Wow. That’s some return on a seven billion-dollar investment, and that’s not counting the nuclear weapons it helped a megalomaniac acquire, or the uncounted North Koreans who’ve suffered and died under Kim Jong Il’s unnaturally prolonged misrule.

Don’t feel so smug. All the while South Korea was cutting its defense budget and reinvesting the money in Kim Jong Il, American taxpayers were subsidizing South Korea’s defense. No wonder Americans are still asking why they’re paying to subsidize the armies of both Koreas, including the one that has artillery pointed at our soldiers there.

4 comments

  1. Jeremy says:

    You could also mention how many Americans may have bought products that were advertised as being made in South Korea, but were actually made in the Kaesong Industrial District.

  2. I’ve long suspected as much, but what evidence do you have for that charge?

  3. Jeremy says:

    To be honest, I haven’t heard anything about it beyond speculation both on the Internet and elsewhere, but considering that The Lion King and other American-based animated works may very well have been produced in North Korea, I could see it happening.

    But at the very least, it’s certain American tax dollars have helped prop up the KID.

  4. kushibo says:

    The article linked by Jeremy clearly mentions North Koreans working in Beijing on American animation projects, but never specifically states a clear example of North Koreans working in North Korea on such things.

    Do the regulations barring the buying and selling of goods and services in North Korea also bar such goods and services from North Koreans in another country?

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