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Currency Revaluation Feared to Spark NK Unrest

Posted December. 07, 2009 08:45,   


The South Korean government believes riots could erupt in North Korea following the communist country’s currency revaluation last week, an official in Seoul said yesterday.

The fear is that North Koreans could riot over losing their hard-earned cash or clash with authorities in the process of a government crackdown.

The government official said Seoul is paying keen attention to the unstable internal situation in North Korea following its surprise currency reform.

“The (South Korean) government is closely watching the situation in the North considering that the currency revaluation is a very significant matter,” he said.

South Korean intelligence and government ministries related to North Korea policy are concentrating on getting a grasp of the North’s internal situation.

A source at a nongovernmental organization that publishes newsletters on North Korea said, “The (South Korean) government is asking us to share data on the North’s internal situation, and we are closely cooperating.”

Another official in Seoul said, “The North Korean leadership apparently keeps making bad moves. Whether the latest move is aimed at maintaining the regime or establishing a succession system for Kim Jong Il’s third son, Kim Jong Un, it will likely cause significant side effects.”

The Russian daily Kommersant Friday quoted diplomatic sources in the North as saying Pyongyang put its military on heightened alert to guard against unrest. No information as of Saturday evening, however, suggested clashes between North Korean authorities and residents.

kyle@donga.com zeitung@donga.com