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The Associated Press reports that there is a “a decidedly un-communist development” taking place in North Korea - “a new culture of commerce is springing up, with China as its inspiration and source. The market-savvy Chinese are introducing the pleasures of the megamart to a small niche of North Koreans, and flooding the country's border regions with cheap goods. And they are doing it with the full approval of North Korea's leadership. The new consumerism is part of a campaign launched three years ago to build up the economy, and so the image of new leader Kim Jong Un.”

There is some ways to go: “Outside Pyongyang, much of the country remains impoverished. Millions rely on state-provided food, but poor agricultural yields mean they'll get only a fraction of what they need to survive, according to the World Food Program. Still, there are signs that a newfound consumer culture is taking hold both in Pyongyang and in the border towns where Chinese-made goods are bought and sold every day.”
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