In North Korean souvenir shops, a shift from ‘anti-Americanism to boosting the economy’

by WorldTribune Staff, June 27, 2018

Anti-American souvenirs are being pulled from store shelves in North Korea, according to Western companies that offer guided tours of the reclusive country.

Anti-American items are being yanked from North Korean shops.

Stamps, postcards and other U.S.-bashing items, which have been perennial bestsellers, have been disappearing from shops from the DMZ to Pyongyang.

“They’re always very popular, not very subtle, and, as of now, have all been removed,” Simon Cockerell, the general manager at Koryo Tours, told Reuters.

Another tour manager told Reuters that the North has “shifted the focus from anti-Americanism to improving agriculture, sports and boosting the local economy.”

“It’s not just at the DMZ, all the anti-American posters I usually see around Kim Il-Sung Square and at shops [in Pyongyang], they’ve all just gone,” said Rowan Beard of Young Pioneer Tours. “In five years working in North Korea, I’ve never seen them completely disappear before.”

“North Korea, for decades, has had the virulent anti-U.S. propaganda. It’s all stopped,” added analyst Gordon Chang. “All the anti-U.S. trinkets have been now replaced with trinkets now showing friendship.”

The Associated Press reported on June 25 that North Korea has also canceled the biggest anti-American rally on its calendar: the annual “Victory in the Fatherland Liberation War” event that celebrates the defeat of “American imperialism” in the Korean War.

July 27 is evidently still a national holiday in North Korea, but this year it will not be marked with the month-long festival of U.S. hatred which in previous years featured 100,000 people marching in Kim Il-Sung Square, postage stamps showing a swarm of North Korean missiles annihilating the U.S. Capitol, or media statements urging resistance against “the fatty monster of U.S. imperialists,” the report said.

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