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Money

North Korean banknotes no longer feature Kim Il-Sung

North Korea has issued new paper bills that no longer depict the country's revered founder, Kim Il-Sung. The 5,000-won banknote instead shows an illustration of the late leader's childhood home.

North Korea has dropped an image of Kim Il-Sung, the country's founder and "Great Leader," from a new banknote, South Korean news media reported Monday.

The new 5,000-won bills instead depict Kim's idyllic birthplace in the town of Mangyongdae, located 15 minutes southwest of Pyongyang, media quoted an unnamed North Korean source as saying.

The backside of the bills features a Pyongyang museum that showcases gifts given to the Kim family by foreign heads of state.

Black market considerations

The official announcement came on July 25, sparking fears of another currency adjustment in the country, according to South Korea's Chosun Ilbo daily.

Another news source, the Yonhap News Agency, however, wrote that the move is not expected to come with any reforms but rather have an impact on the impoverished nation's black market.

Some North Korean analysts believe the reason for the change may simply be consistency, as other North Korean banknotes feature birthplaces of Kim Jong-Il and his mother Kim Jong-Suk.

Others believe the new bill signals a gradual erosion of the Kim Il-Sung personality cult, paving the way for the current supreme leader Kim Jong-Un to implement new reforms on the planned economy.

The 5,000-won banknote holds the highest nominal value in North Korea and is worth around $50 (37.34 euros), although its actual market value lies around $1.

el/cjc (dpa, Yonhap)

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