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N. Korea raised imports of luxury goods from China last year
MARCH 29, 2013 04:53  
North Korea imported more luxury goods such as caviar and carpets from China last year. The Stalinist country had curtailed imports in 2011, when its former leader Kim Jong Il died, but began expanding imports after his successor Kim Jong Un took power.

The Chinese customs authority said Thursday that North Korea imported 519,402 U.S. dollars worth of caviar and roe from China last year. Caviar imports reached 77,000 dollars in 2010 but fell to just 10,000 dollars in 2011. But it increased the caviar import volume by nearly 50 times the amount of 2011, returning to previous levels. As a big fan of caviar, Kim Jong Il gave it to his confidants as gifts or used at parties.

North Korea imported carpets worth 448,728 dollars last year, or 33 times higher than that of 2011. The import volume fell to 20 percent of the previous years but surged last year to bigger than that of two years ago. Experts say this could be related to the inauguration of the new leader.

In January this year, the Stalinist country imported 661.71 kilograms of silver worth 653,128 dollars from China, suggesting a special occasion given that it imported jewelry worth 77,539 dollars from China last year. Observers say Pyongyang might have needed silver as a present for the new leader뭩 birthday on Jan. 8.

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