N.Korea Scraping the Barrel to Earn Hard Currency

  • By Lee Ha-won, Yoon Hyung-jun

    May 07, 2019 13:55

    North Korea is reduced to selling hair like the Victorian poor to earn hard currency as international sanctions ban more lucrative exports.

    Japan's Asahi Shimbun on Monday reported that North Korean wigs and false eyelashes are being advertised in the Chinese border city of Dandong, and a former North Korean electronic parts factory with excess staff of several thousands of workers is now making them instead.

    Last autumn, company managers asked a broker for an introduction to Chinese companies that might place orders for such products, according to the Japanese daily.

    Unlike minerals, seafood and vegetables, exports of handicrafts are not banned by UN sanctions.

    The North exported an estimated US$2.4 million worth of wigs and other hair products to China in February, about double the amount of the same month in 2018 and taking up more than 10 percent of the North's total exports to China of about $17.96 million.

    The regime has also opened dance and music classes in China as another way to earn hard currency. In March, a group of North Korean residents in Shenyang advertised lessons by North Korean artists for a fee of about 50 yuan (about W9,000) per hour. 

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