June 23, 2016 11:45
A Swiss ban on exports of luxury goods to North Korea is weakening the regime's ability to buy the loyalty of the elite, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday.
RFA quoted the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry as saying North Korea bought 87 watches worth US$11,000 just between January to April this year, before the sanctions went into force in May.
That rate suggests there will be a serious shortfall in gifts for top officials. Swiss sanctions will also affect other sectors like finance, RFA speculated.
On May 18, the Swiss government froze North Korean assets, closed bank accounts, and banned exports of 25 luxury items to the North.
The regime's imports of Swiss watches nearly doubled from $112,930 in 2011 to $201,880 in 2012 right after Kim Jong-un took power.
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