North Korea has banned the use of foreign currency, another sign its hard-line communist government is intent on reasserting control over the country’s nascent market economy.
Reports say the decree warns of severe punishment for anyone using U.S. dollars, euros, yuan and other non-North Korean currencies. Foreign currencies previously were accepted in some shops, restaurants and other outlets, particularly those catering to foreigners.
The order, issued by North Korea’s state security bureau and going into effect Jan. 1, aims to “forbid the circulation of foreign currency,” China’s state-run CCTV television said in a brief report late Wednesday.
The Daily NK, a Seoul-based online news outlet, said the order prohibits all individuals and organizations apart from banks from possessing foreign currency. It said the decree was posted in public and at workplaces, and went into effect Dec. 28.
There was no mention of the ban Thursday in official North Korean state media. In Seoul, a South Korean official confirmed the ban, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media on intelligence matters.
Read More: – By Jean H. Lee, Associated Press Writer