'Over 80% of N.Koreans Depend on Markets'

Around 80 to 90 percent of North Koreans buy daily necessities in the market and an average of one person per household is a trader, making it unlikely that the regime will succeed in reverting to a centralized economy, an academic says.

Han Ki-bum, a North Korea expert and former National Intelligence Service agent analyzed the North Korean economy over the past 10 years and submitted a dissertation to Kyungnam University on Tuesday.

Citing interviews with North Korean defectors and sources in the North, Han wrote, "Some traders promote fantasies about South Korean goods. When young customers approach, these merchants tell them, 'Look at the [South Korean] mark. It's the best. Take it or regret it later.'"

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 30, 2009 09:53 KST