Far away from the global recession and genuine economic uncertainty brought by, arguably, too much globalization; North Korea is convulsing in its own form of cash crunch in utter isolation.
After revaluing its currency late last year (read: chopping off two digits and obliterating what meager savings its people had over the past decades), the mass can no longer smuggle food from China into the North Korean black market, where a large number of people get their foods from.
In a new year message that tried to both assuage its external enemies while placating rising internal dissent, North Korea has promised to work on “food security”.
But facing almost unprecedented protests – which is most likely still very low considering it is North Korea, Dear Leader is getting desperate.
So desperate that it’s willing to open up the country more to tourism, and perhaps not just the tour-group led ones that showcase massively choreographed performances with slogans and cards?
Last year, the country took in 280 US visitors only. But they may very well want to open the door a tad wider, especially if Kim Jong Il’s arms exports continue to get seized.
Collapsed currency, mass starvation, export seizures, and rebuffed by South Korea, Japan, and the US.