North Korea is in serious financial trouble, the Chosun Ilbo reports, largely due to $110 million it has spent on the personality cult surrounding late leader Kim Jong-il.
The South Korean newspaper says that one 23-foot statue of Kim, who died late 2011, erected in Pyongyang cost around $10 million. The country spent $20 million on replacing portraits of Kim, a source told the paper, and $1 million on badges depicting his face.
North Korea faces various economic sanctions and widespread waste, and the country has struggled to support itself financially in recent years. Despite this, the regime has been demanding "donations" from citizens to continue funding Kim Jong-il's cult of personality, the Chosun Ilbo reports, and is reportedly seeking emergency loans with 20-40% interest from European and Russian lenders.
Kim's son, new North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, doesn't appear to be in any rush to end the cult of personality. He appeared at the unveiling of statues dedicated to his father and grandfather, Kim Il-sung, early this year, and reportedly ordered a military officer who he felt was not mourning enough to be killed with a mortar round.
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