Monday, May 1, 2017

As Economy Grows, North Korea’s Grip on Society Is Tested

New apartment towers along Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang, North Korea, which has experienced a construction boom. Credit Wong Maye-E/Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — Despite decades of sanctions and international isolation, the economy in North Korea is showing surprising signs of life.

Scores of marketplaces have opened in cities across the country since the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, took power five years ago. A growing class of merchants and entrepreneurs is thriving under the protection of ruling party officials. Pyongyang, the capital, has seen a construction boom, and there are now enough cars on its once-empty streets for some residents to make a living washing them.

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