North Korea’s economy is headed into the worst contraction since the famine of the 1990s that killed millions, recent reports suggest.
Researchers at the Institute for National Security Strategy told reporters Thursday that the North Korean economy is shrinking and the effects could hit hard in the second half of the year.
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They said factories could stop operating if they cannot import machinery, electronics and metal components for maintenance due to international sanctions.
They also predicted that the economic difficulties could result in delays in major construction projects underway in Samjiyon, Ryanggang Province, in the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist zone in Kangwon Province, and in the Yangdok hot springs zone in South Pyongan Province.
The institute nonetheless predicted that North Korean negotiators will be “uncompromising” in planned working-level talks with the U.S. They said the North’s new negotiating team will be motivated by fear of what happened to the old team after the failed summit with the U.S. in Hanoi in February.
Many of the top officials in the advance negotiating team were purged.