North Korea’s CCTV camera showed the top leader Kim Jong Un personally driving a black SUV to inspect the front line of flood fighting and flood prevention in Yinbo County, North Yellow Sea Road, attracting attention from the outside world. < p > < p > Yonhap news agency reported that the leader’s special car, suspected to be Toyota Lexus LX570, had appeared at the cultural and gold festival in Pyongyang in September 2018 and the completion ceremony of Yangde hot spring cultural and leisure area in December last year. < / P > < p > North Korea still has imported goods. Can only leading cadres buy imported goods? Many people question this. In fact, several decades ago, many popular models such as Volvo and Mercedes Benz appeared on the streets of Pyongyang. With the improvement of local life in North Korea, a large number of foreign goods, including imported cars, are constantly entering North Korea, step by step into ordinary people’s homes.
at the same time, the DPRK also vigorously absorbed the essence of foreign products and continuously improved its local manufacturing capability. Except for some high-tech products, “made in North Korea” is no less competitive than those imported. In the 1950s, North Korea, once known as the “two industrial giants in Northeast Asia” together with Japan, put forward the independent development policy of producing and manufacturing domestic automobiles. In October 1950, “Shengli automobile complex”, one of the main automobile manufacturing companies in North Korea, was established. In 1958, the company assembled the first 2.5-ton truck “shengli-58”, and since then it has become the largest local automobile factory producing 40 tons of large trucks. Kim Il Sung, the former Supreme Leader of North Korea, and Kim Jong Il visited the country 19 times and 9 times respectively during his lifetime. From the 1960s, in addition to the Soviet Union’s gas, Volga and LADA, North Korea has also introduced cars of different brands from Sweden, Germany, Japan and other countries, such as Volvo and old Benz. Until now, walking in the streets of Pyongyang, you can see “antique cars” of different ages. Some car enthusiasts who have visited North Korea exclaim that this is a mobile “Automobile Museum”. It is worth noting that most of the automobile industry facilities and factories in North Korea were built with the assistance of the socialist countries in Eastern Europe. In the late 1970s, some disadvantages under the guidance of the planned economy gradually emerged. Due to their own economic problems, some brother countries could not replace and repair the automobile production equipment in North Korea in time, and the aging situation became increasingly serious. A report on “Korean industry” issued by KDB Industrial Bank in 2015 pointed out that in the 1990s, due to the shortage of electricity and raw materials such as rubber, the operating rate of factories in North Korea continued to decline, and the production of tire and other auto parts was difficult. In addition, North Korea’s industrialization policy is relatively closed and has obvious inward orientation. In the field of precision machining, engine and other parts manufacturing, the development momentum is seriously insufficient, and the technology is difficult to further develop. < / P > < p > equipment aging, productivity and technical capacity are insufficient, forming a vicious closed-loop. In 1993, the Security Council adopted for the first time a resolution on sanctions against the North Korean nuclear issue, which made the situation worse. Soon, though, North Korea found a new way out. On April 15, 1998, the head office of peace automobile, a car production enterprise named and approved by Kim Jong Il, was established. At the beginning, the enterprise was a joint venture between South Korea and North Korea, which was of great significance at that time. Only in 2012 did the South Korean side transfer its shares. On April 6, 2002, the peace automobile factory was completed in Nanpu, near Pyongyang, covering an area of 990000 square meters. More than 400 workers here produce 11 types of cars, SUVs and minibuses, such as “Junma”, “Whistler” and “cuckoo”. However, it must be noted that due to the high cost and time-consuming of automobile R & D, North Korea has not been able to achieve full independent production. In most cases, automobile parts, semi-finished products or completely decomposed products are imported through cooperation, and then they are reassembled, renovated and OEM produced locally. This is also a big reason why many tourists see familiar models on the streets of North Korea, and the front and rear signs are different. Since 2006, despite the opposition of the international community, North Korea has carried out nuclear tests one after another, causing external uneasiness. The Security Council’s resolutions on sanctions against North Korea have been strengthened continuously, and the negative effects have attacked the automobile industry again. According to the current situation of the Korean automobile industry published by KOTRA, the R & D funds of the two automobile manufacturing plants of “Heping automobile” and “Shengli automobile complex” tend to be zero since 2012, and there is no other additional capital investment. After taking office in 2011, Jin Zhengen inspected the automobile production base many times, went deep into the workshop, and constantly demanded to promote the modernization of the industrial sector, so as to make the automobile industry rejuvenate. According to statistics released by the Korean statistics agency, local auto factories produced 4000 cars in 2013. Since then, the number has risen steadily. < / P > < p > “since 2014, the streets of Pyongyang have been full of vitality due to the increase of taxis and other vehicles. Signal lights and road renovation projects have been continuous, and even traffic jams have begun to appear.” This is described in the associated press report from Pyongyang in December 2015. < p > < p > < p > < p > < p > the South Korean economy quoted people from the Ministry of unification as saying that with the active local market in North Korea, the commercial vehicle market necessary for circulation will also be developed, “North Korea will also experience the process of car market development”. According to South Korean media, since 2017, the North Korean authorities have lowered the threshold to allow local people to buy cars in their own name, in addition to providing cars to government agencies. In recent years, with the improvement of local people’s living standards, the demand for imported cars by the new affluent stratum is also increasing. In a report, c4ads, a US security think-tank, pointed out in a report that between 2015 and 2017, a total of 803 imported cars were transported to North Korea, nearly one third (256) were Japanese cars, and the vast majority were Toyota’s “Lexus”. South Korean media pointed out that the Lexus LX570 model driven by Jin Zhengen before also included it. It is worth mentioning that in recent years, more and more Chinese made cars have appeared on the streets of North Korea. Mkpremium news of South Korea pointed out in a report that cars or minivans produced by Shanghai Volkswagen have become one of the first choices of local car lovers due to their high cost performance. The rise and fall of North Korea’s automobile industry not only reflects the overall development context and characteristics of the local industry, but also presents the fact that North Korea is trapped in isolation due to sanctions and is hard to break, but the daily life of the local people is more and more connected and synchronized with the world. In Japan, the Korean new daily, an organ newspaper of the General Federation of Korean people, once pointed out that “in spite of international sanctions, (the Korean authorities) still strive to provide the people with excellent material and cultural life. < / P > < p > the types of local imports in North Korea are becoming increasingly rich, covering almost every aspect of daily needs, which greatly satisfies the local rich class or foreigners with purchasing power in North Korea. < / P > < p > on April 15, 2019, daejeong department store, a world-class shopping center in North Korea, opened. On that day, due to the large flow of people, we had to take measures to limit the flow. According to a previous report by China News Weekly, in the supermarket on the first floor, there are many imported goods from China, Japan, Europe and the United States, such as coffee made in Yunnan, China, soap made in China, bath gel made in Japan, etc., which are much more expensive than local brands. On the third floor, shoes, watches, cosmetics and electronic products area display Rolex, Omega and other international famous watch brands, as well as Chanel, Lancome, SK-II and other international famous cosmetics brands. In addition to common imported foods, such as Weilong hot strip, a vacuum packed pig skin, which Chinese young people love to eat, can also be bought in shops, a Sino Korean businessman who did not want to be named told dongfang.com.zongxiang.com. In addition, the local pharmacy also sells a lot of drugs imported from Japan. According to a data report collected by the South Korean parliament in 2013, North Korea’s luxury spending has doubled since Kim Jong Un took office compared with 2011. In 2012, the total import of luxury goods reached nearly US $650 million, compared with the average annual total of about US $300 million under Kim Jong Il. The growth was mainly concentrated in cosmetics, bags, leather goods, watches and cars. In 2016, North Korea’s economic growth rate reached 3.9%, the highest since 1999. In the first half of 2017, the growth momentum did not decrease, and North Korea significantly expanded imports of non essential goods such as chocolate and beer, which once attracted the attention of South Korean media. According to the report released by c4ads in 2019, in the past 10 years, high-end cosmetics, clothing, bags, apple Samsung mobile phones and other electronic products have been flowing into North Korea through different channels. On the other hand, with the expansion of the scope of the “self-reliance” movement launched by North Korea from the top to the bottom, the DPRK has greatly enriched the daily life of ordinary people with relatively weak purchasing power by means of localization of foreign goods and localization of foreign science and technology. On many occasions, Kim Jong Un stressed that on the basis of existing achievements, “we should continue to move towards higher goals”. For example, North Korea has launched a local version of “spicy chicken noodles”. It is similar to the original packaging of South Korea, but the thickness and cooking method of pancakes are not the same, and the price is relatively cheap. South Korea’s “new East Asia” reporter after a taste, said that the Korean style “spicy chicken noodles” is more like fried noodles, compared with the original version, the spicy feeling is more powerful, “a bite down, the whole body’s sweat holes are opened.” < / P > < p > North Korean people need to “surf the Internet” through the internal LAN, but this does not affect their enjoyment of “palm life”. For example, we can play games and read e-novels with locally made tablet computers and mobile phones; through e-commerce service systems such as “yuliu” and “wuxiangxiang”, we can realize online shopping and even order takeout. < p > < p > in 2016, South Korean media reported that North Korea suspected to have launched a social network server, starcon. After joining, you can upload profiles and photos, search friends and send messages. It can be called “facebook” of local version. < / P > < p > after the outbreak of the new crown epidemic this year, universities in North Korea provided online courses for students. In an article, the official North Korean newspaper, labor news, also pointed out that Kim Il Sung University tested students through a network set up in their dormitories. Language teaching courses are also offered to students who stay at home. Although there are many people outside looking at North Korea’s remaking of foreign products and technologies with colored glasses, the localization process has also stimulated healthy competition among local enterprises. In 2014, the socialist enterprise responsibility management system was implemented in North Korea, and the quality of light industrial products was greatly improved, and “made in Korea” became more and more confident. According to Ping An Dao, many food factories launch new products every few months. There are more than a dozen kinds of chewing gum alone. The quality of biscuits and candies is also improving. The taste is very good, which can catch the customers’ hearts. “It is comparable with imported goods. More and more people begin to prefer to buy domestic products.” New East Asia