Tuesday 12 December 2017

North Korea wishes us economic cheer on St. Patrick’s Day

Bomi Lim

North Korea said it sent a Saint Patrick’s Day greeting to President Mary McAleese, wishing the country a speedy recovery from recession.

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, said he hoped Ireland would succeed in “settling the economic problem,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported today. The message, from North Korea’s deputy leader, also called for developing “favorable” relations between the two countries.

While North Korea regularly sends diplomatic messages to countries on national days and after natural disasters, the reference to Ireland’s economic slump is unusual.

North Korea relies on outside aid to feed its 24 million people after years of economic mismanagement by the totalitarian regime led by Kim Jong Il. His currency devaluation late last year, combined with a poor harvest, left the country faced with “severe” food shortages, special analyst Vitit Muntarbhorn said in a February report to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Ireland’s economy shrank 7.5pc last year, the most of any euro-area economy as the property market collapsed and the jobless rate more than tripled from its low in 2005. The government expects the economy to return to growth in the second half of this year.


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