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North Korea takes a hit to its economy

North Korea’s economy shrunk in 2020, a contraction of 4.5%, the biggest in 23 years.That’s according to an estimate released on Friday (July 30) by South Korea’s central bank.It said the isolated country has been battered by ongoing UN sanctions, along with COVID-19 lockdown measures and a spate of bad weather.The Bank of Korea’s data estimates are considered the most reliable available.Because Pyongyang does not disclose any statistics on its economy.North Korea has not officially confirmed any virus cases.But Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un recently said that a failure to implement pandemic measures had caused a «great crisis.»Earlier, Kim had hinted at a tense food situation.One South Korean government source told Reuters that the North is facing its worst economic crunch since the 1990s when a famine killed as many as 3 million people.This time around, the source said, Chinese aid is keeping hunger at bay, along with the release of military and emergency reserves.But one expert told Reuters that a suffering economy could lead to «political repercussions» with citizens becoming ever more involved and invested in the economy.