N.Korea Depends Heavily on Chinese Tourists

  • By Kim Ji-seop

    December 16, 2019 13:28

    North Korea has narrowly avoided economic collapse amid international sanctions thanks to tourists from China.

    Statistics Korea on Friday said the North's economy shrank an estimated 4.1 percent in 2018, the biggest fall since 1997.

    In 2018, the North's GDP stood at W35.9 trillion, a mere 1/53 of South Korea's W1,898.45 trillion (US$1=W1,174).

    Due to the sanctions, North Korea's total trade amounted to just US$2.84 billion last year, about half of 2016's $5.55 billion or a mere 1/401 of South Korea's $1.14 trillion.

    The North's exports plunged to a record-low $243 million, down a whopping 86.3 percent on-year.

    But the regime managed to avoid the worst thanks to tourism from China. Back in July, the North's State General Bureau of Tourist Guidance told China's Xinhua News Agency that 200,000 foreigners visited the North last year, 90 percent of them Chinese.

    And this year, the number of Chinese visitors to the North is estimated at over 1 million.

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