Cash-starved N. Korea secretly sells gold: Report
SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea has been secretly selling gold to make up for shortages of hard currency after it spent millions of dollars on celebrating the 100th birthday of its founder, a news report said on Tuesday.
The Chosun Ilbo daily quoted sources in China as saying that the impoverished communist state had cashed more than 2,000kg of gold worth US$100 million (S$123 million) in China over the past year.
"North Korea has been exporting not only gold ingots it had obtained from mines or stored in government agencies but gold trinkets it had collected from ordinary people," an ethnic Korean businessman told the daily.
"North Korean trading companies in China have been cashing the gold in secrecy," the source said. "For this purpose, North Koreans are compelled to sell gold trinkets to government authorities." The movement reportedly began after Kim Jong-Un took the reins from his late father Kim Jong-Il who died of heart attack in December 2011.