Ban urged on regime-run restaurants

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Ban urged on regime-run restaurants

South Korea urged on Wednesday its people to refrain from visiting North Korean restaurants overseas as part of efforts cut the routes of hard currency flowing to the regime in Pyongyang.

The Ministry of Unification strongly appealed to citizens not to dine at North Korean establishments although it is not illegal, underscoring tensions on the peninsula following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test on Jan. 6 and subsequent long-range ballistic missile launch on Feb. 7.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Tuesday that it had ordered its diplomatic offices abroad to recommend restrictions on South Koreans dining at North Korean-run restaurants in other countries. There are currently about 130 North Korean restaurants in 12 countries, mostly in China and Southeast Asia.

The South Korean government suspects that the North is able to raise a maximum of $100 million a year, which is tantamount to the money that the South paid to North Korea last year via the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a last inter-Korean cooperation project that was shut down last week.

BY KIM SO-HEE [kim.sohee0905@joongang.co.kr]

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