Markets Continue Despite Official Bluster

Changchun, China — Despite North Korean official attempts to shift general markets onto an agricultural format, the general markets are operating as normal because of popular resistance to change.

A source residing in Kangdong-gun, Pyongyang told Daily NK, “In mid-April, a wholesale market in Pyongsung was shut down for around ten days, but after that it reopened and continues to operate.” He added that, “I’ve heard that the existing market was supposed to close early this year and be changed into an agricultural market, but there have actually been no shutdowns at all.”

He continued, “I don’t know the exact reason for the closure of Pyongsung market in April, but I’ve heard that there was an investigation of the individuals who manage the big wholesale businesses there. Traders strongly opposed it, so the closure of the market could not be completed.”

The source added, “In Kangdong-gun and other districts of Pyongyang, there have been many rumors about market closures, but there have not been any so far. Markets are operating normally.”

A source from Shinuiju confirmed it. “Many rumors of market closure have circulated, but they are working as usual,” the source said, “Markets in Pyongsung are operating as well, so there are still many traders coming and going between Shinuiju and Pyongsung. Especially, as summer approaches, trade is increasing.”

He added, “People still talk about the closure of the markets, but they don’t talk about it as much as earlier this year. In truth, if the jangmadang is closed, it will be hard for even the cadres to live, let alone ordinary residents. So cadres also have a negative opinion of the measure, and for that reason it will be difficult to shift to agricultural markets.”