N.Korean Soldiers Patrol Border in S.Korean SUVs

North Korean soldiers are patrolling the border dividing the peninsula in South Korean SUVs. Those present at inter-Korean family reunions at North Korea's scenic Mt. Kumgang resort last month report that North Korean soldiers were seen escorting South Korean families in Hyundai Galloper SUVs.

One source said, "North Korea is having a tough time producing its own military vehicles and so they're using cars from Hyundai Asan" -- the South Korean business that ran package tours to Mt.Kumgang until 2008. It is not clear whether that was a form of aid or merely cars left behind when the company left.

South Korean products have generally been growing more popular among North Koreans. The top item on the wish list of newlyweds is South Korean rice cookers, while wealthy North Koreans feed their newborns South Korean baby formula. South Korean cosmetics, meanwhile, are a popular way of bribing border guards for traders returning from illegal trips to China.

Some international media reported that South Korean memory chips are used in a North Korea long-range missile.

The most popular TV program in the North is the South Korean soap opera "The Wang Family," which recently ended on KBS.

North Korea watchers say propaganda is clearly having little effect and South Korean products are seen as something to aspire to.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 17, 2014 09:30 KST

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