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Taxi driver becoming popular job in North Korea

The job has grown in appeal in the wake of a mass mobilization movement.

By Elizabeth Shim
Taxi driver becoming popular job in North Korea
North Koreans wait outside the border crossing between North Korea and Dandong, China's largest border city with North Korea. A North Korean source in China says taxi driving is emerging as a popular occupation because of the opportunity to earn foreign currency. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, June 14 (UPI) -- As more cars hit the road in Pyongyang, driving a taxi is fast becoming a popular occupation in North Korea.

There are many benefits to becoming a taxi driver in North Korea's changing economy, Radio Free Asia reported Tuesday.

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The job is relatively safe and comfortable, and drivers can earn foreign currency easily, according to the report.

A North Korean source visiting in China who spoke to RFA on the condition of anonymity said the job is "popular" among men for those reasons.

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The occupation has grown in appeal in the wake of a state call for a "200-day battle," a mass mobilization movement that requires ordinary North Koreans to volunteer free labor.

"As the recent 200-day battle began, and others work hard in the heat, taxi drivers can enjoy the cool breeze as they drive and earn dollars," the source said, adding the job choice is popular among North Korean officers.

The career is in relatively high demand and has resulted in the payment of bribes and the use of personal connections among job seekers who wish to be selected as drivers.

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Taxicab companies that are looking for drivers do not issue a public announcement or a job ad, looking instead among personal networks for new hires, the source said.

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While North Korea's economy is changing, its politics have become more rigid.

A recent analysis of 1,000 photographs shows that Kim Jong Un idolization remains strong -- the state has placed numerous propaganda slogans across the country, and education on idolization appears to begin early.

RELATED Nuclear-powered USS Mississippi arrives in South Korea

Phrases like, "Thank you, dear general Kim Jong Un" can be seen at elementary schools and childcare centers, according to Yonhap.

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