Risky business: N. Korea making capitalist accommodations to win foreign currency

Special to WorldTribune.com

By Lee Jong-Heon, East-Asia-Intel.com

North Korea’s youthful leader Kim Jong-Un is taking another risky step to win much-needed foreign currency by allowing certain capitalist practices in the world’s last Stalinist nation.

Staff pose in the kitchen of North Korea's first fast food restaurant in Pyongyang. Restaurants catering to foreigners are adopting capitalist practices. /AFP/Yonhap

Workers at state-run shops in the capital city of Pyongyang have begun wearing name cards instead of badges displaying Kim’s grandfather and national founder, Kim Il-Sung and his son Kim Jong-Il, who died last December, according to a source who recently visited the North.

All adult North Koreans have been required to wear badges depicting the late rulers, who are treated with great reverence. But now, the badges have been replaced by name cards.

The change is intended to make foreign visitors feel more comfortable in buying goods at the stores, the source said.

“It seems significant because no other item is as important to North Korea’s personality cult as portraits and badges of the Kim family leaders,” the source said.

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