Report: Kim Jong Un Makes Bank Off The Foreign Journalists Who Attend His Parades

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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North Korea may be raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars whenever it brings foreign journalists into the country for its major celebrations.

The North recently celebrated the 105th anniversary of the birth of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. For the massive military parade held on the Day of the Sun — during which North Korea rolled out several new ballistic missiles for future war, highlighted its socialist ideologies, and embraced the personality cult surrounding the brutal Kim regime — Pyongyang opened its often tightly-shut doors to 121 foreign correspondents.

These events are opportunities for an impoverished regime trudging forward in the face of international sanctions over its ballistic missile and nuclear ambitions to generate foreign currency, Reuters reports.

One seven-day trip to Pyongyang costs about $2,500, which ends up going to various North Korean government agencies. Reuters explained that this figure is roughly equivalent to the wages the average North Korean would receive over a period of five years. Flights, hotels, living expenses, and visas included, North Korea likely made around $300,000 off the journalists that visited for the recent North Korean celebrations.

According to a journalist who recently visited Pyongyang, a North Korean visa costs around $175, round-trip tickets from Beijing to Pyongyang cost roughly $500, seven nights in a hotel run for about $800, and daily living expenses are about $300 in total. There is also a $300 service fee for the North Korean guards, known as “minders,” who follow reporters around, translate, and take them to various destinations. Cellphone and data plans are also extremely expensive.

All in-country interactions are reportedly strictly controlled, and the North Koreans will not hesitate to delete the photos journalists take if they believe the subject matter is sensitive.

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