North Korea’s wealthy people are not spared from the financial hardships brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and like most of the country’s population, are troubled by the pandemic’s economic setbacks, according to Daily NK.
“Even donju who live in apartments worth tens of thousands of dollars are firing their housekeepers or making drastic cuts to their pay,” Daily NK’s source from South Pyongan Province said on Wednesday, referring to the country’s wealthy socioeconomic class.“Some donju used to boast that ‘even if the Taedong River dries up, my pockets never will.’ But even they have had to let their housekeepers go.”
Trade and business activities keep donju’s capital flowing but because of the restrictions due to the pandemic, the wealthy were also forced to cut down spending.
The wealthy class also trimmed down their expenses due to the financial situation, reducing the salary they provide housekeepers who do cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other chores for them.
“Many donju are cutting housekeepers’ salaries in half or even firing them, saying that there is ‘no business and no money,” explained the source. “It’s not just regular people that are having a hard time – it’s the donju, too.”
The wealthy were also affected by the economic troubles and seemed to suggest that the economic situation in the secluded state became even worse.
Donju’s major source of income was reduced as the country sealed its border with China and stopped almost the entire trade with its largest trading partner due to virus threats.
Last year, a USD 539,059,000 worth of trade was shared between China and North Korea, based on the data of the General Administration of Customs of China.
A USD 491,059,000 worth of commodities were imported by the North from China in the said period of time.
The volume of trade and the value of Chinese imports were both affected by the pandemic, decreasing by an estimate of 81 percent as compared to the past year.
Last month, North Korean imports to China were only at USD 3, 000 on estimate, an indication that the trade between the two countries is hit hard by the pandemic.
Given their huge capital roll up, donju have large power on their country’s economy.
Their loss of capital can potentially affect the economy of the North.
But given the present situation, donju did not sound alarm on keeping their source of income.
Apart from them, regular locals in the country suffer hard due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Regular citizens even go through worse than the well-off population in the North, according to the reports gathered by Daily NK.