North Korean economy in 2016 expands at fastest pace in 17 years

2017.07.21 16:31:30 | 2017.07.21 16:36:55

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North Korea’s economy grew at the fastest pace in 17 years in 2016 in another data to support the argument that international sanctions have limited effect in humbling and forcing the reclusive country to yield weapons program.

According to data released by the Bank of Korea (BOK) Friday, the adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) in North Korea rose 3.9 percent in 2016 from the previous year, a dramatic recovery from 1.1 percent contraction in 2015. Its growth outpaced the richer South’s growth of 2.8 percent last year.

The BOK estimated North Korea’s per capita gross national income (GNI) in 2016 at 1.46 million won ($1,302.99), 4.6 percent of South Korea’s 31.98 million won. The income gap between the two Koreas slightly narrowed to 21.9 times from 22.2 times in 2015.

North Korea’s economy has been running at 1.3 percent on average for the last two years, and last year’s growth jumped against the slumped year of 2015, the BOK said.

The expanding market activities under Pyongyang’s condoning have helped to bolster income of ordinary North Korean residents and their economic activity, it added.

Trade data also suggests North Korea still maintained active trade with its biggest ally China despite the toughest-yet UN Security Council sanctions.

North Korea’s trade volume rose 4.7 percent on year to $6.6 billion last year. Exports expanded 4.6 percent to $2.8 billion won and imports up 4.8 percent to $3.7 billion against a year earlier.

The country’s population in 2016 was estimated at 24.9 million, less than half of South Korea’s 51.2 million.

By Boo Jang-won

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