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North Korea restaurants continue to close as revenue declines

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea restaurants continue to close as revenue declines
Song Do Won, a North Korean restaurant in Dandong, China. More North Korean restaurants are closing in the wake of sweeping sanctions against Pyongyang. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, April 12 (UPI) -- More North Korean restaurants overseas are shutting down operations.

South Korean expatriates and tourists in Southeast Asia have been patronizing the restaurants at less frequent intervals.

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The trend has resulted in financial troubles for one restaurant in Myanmar, Radio Free Asia reported.

Pyongyang Koryo Restaurant in Yangon had been enjoying brisk business in a former city hall building – but an advisory from the South Korean embassy has effectively deterred its citizens from dining at the establishment.

In Yangon, one South Korean resident told RFA that he had heard the restaurant's customer pool had shrunk significantly. As revenues declined the restaurant couldn't afford the high rent, the source said.

Outside Myanmar, more restaurants are closing in the wake of North Korea's January announcement of a nuclear test.

The provocation has discouraged South Korean tourists from visiting the establishments, and sources say at least three out of 15 restaurants in Dandong, China, have closed.

In the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai near Macau, a North Korean restaurant had also closed despite the fact it had been popular with clients.

The suspension of restaurant operations follows tighter economic sanctions against Pyongyang, and the establishments have come under scrutiny since 13 North Koreans from a restaurant in China fled for the South.

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North Korea has condemned the defections and has threatened the South with retaliation for what it called "abductions" of North Korean nationals, who traveled on valid passports from China to Thailand. There, they sought asylum last week at a South Korean embassy in Bangkok.

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