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Why has North Korea been importing mainly white-colored vehicles?

Black vehicles are reserved for official use in North Korea, so almost all the cars imported from China are white, a source in Yanggang Province told Daily NK on Tuesday.

Black cars are a symbol of power in North Korea, a component of the country’s strict class system. In other words, black vehicles are a way for officials to express their authority to others.

The result is that ordinary North Koreans would never dream of driving or riding in black vehicles, the source said.

Under these circumstances, the vast majority of used cars imported into North Korea from China are white.

“Because black vehicles are for official use, they don’t get trade permits and therefore can’t be imported. Currently, only white, gray and brown vehicles are smuggled in with government approval, with white vehicles being in the highest demand,” the source said.

“Vehicle color is regulated in a similar way to the ban on ordinary citizens sharing the names of the Supreme Leader’s immediate family members – anyone with such a name is required to change it. This is a good illustration of the extreme strictness of regulations tied to the class system in North Korea,” he added.

The source pointed out some North Koreans are unhappy with the government’s designation of black vehicles for official use. They think it would be enough to designate one model for officials to use, and that the color restrictions are a step too far.

“Some people grumble that no other country in the world would ban ordinary people from driving black cars. Even if more people become car owners or want to become car owners, the car color rule is unlikely to change because it conveys social power and authority,” the source said.

Daily NK works with a network of sources living in North Korea, China, and elsewhere. Their identities remain anonymous for security reasons. For more information about Daily NK’s network of reporting partners and information-gathering activities, please visit our FAQ page here.

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Read in Korean

June 28, 2024 at 06:30AM

by DailyNK(North Korean Media)

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