June 10, 2015 13:03
North Korea is producing a copycat version of the popular South Korean Choco Pie snacks. The sickly sweet knockoffs are being sold in Pyongyang and the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex, where the original has become something of an unofficial currency.
A source on Tuesday said the knockoffs are made in a factory in Pyongyang, which also makes candy, cookies and jelly snacks.
The South Korean Choco Pies, which cost around 700 North Korean won, have disappeared from markets in Pyongyang, and the copycat ones are being sold for 200 won.
The factory stopped production in October last year as imports of Cuban sugar came to a grinding halt, but imports of Chinese sugar since March this year have allowed the assembly lines to start up again.
North Korea is supplying the Choco Pies to workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in a bid to break the black-market trade of the South Korean product, which has been almost the only viable payment for workers since the regime pockets almost all their money.
A South Korean staffer in the complex said the regime "pressured us to use North Korean products last year and supplies began in March and April." As a result, around 50 South Korean suppliers to the complex are in financial trouble.
A Unification Ministry official said, "North Korea's intention is to limit contact with South Korean products and lifestyles."
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