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(LEAD) N. Korea recently opened hospital in Tanzania: RFA

All Headlines 11:41 April 07, 2016

(ATTN: UPDATES with another story in last 4 paras)

SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has recently opened a hospital in Tanzania and since been striving to boost earnings apparently to make up for its foreign income squeezed by international sanctions, a media report said Thursday.

Maibong Sukidor Medical, a Korean traditional medical center, opened near the East African country's former capital of Dar es Salaam in early February, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) said.

A copy of the center's business cards showed a doctor named Pak Jae-hong serves as the managing director of the establishment. A small billboard was also set up on a road leading to the medical center, with the description "Korean dispensary," according to the RFA.

The radio report quoted a source saying that two people, one male doctor and one female nurse, were working there.

The hospital is making utmost efforts to lure patients with its newspaper advertisements that promise to cure every kind of terminal disease, the report said.

But in reality, the North Korea hospital is prescribing sham medicine and patients who have visited the center have complained about side effects, the report said, adding that it is causing a social problem in Tanzania.

Amid such issues, Tanzania's health authorities have issued an order for illegal medical practices to cease operations, it said.

A total of 13 North Korean hospitals are in operation in the East African country after the first one opened in 1991, the report also said.

The international community, led by the United Nations Security Council, adopted a series of economic sanctions on the communist country after its nuclear test and a long-range rocket launch earlier this year, which were banned under UNSC resolutions on Pyongyang.

In a separate story, the RFA said North Korea's trade with Hong Kong has shown a steady decline ever since its leader Kim Jong-un took power in late 2011.

The volume of trade between the two countries stood at US$6.5 million in 2015, down 40.4 percent from a year earlier, the RFA said, quoting data from the Hong Kong branch of South Korea's trade agency, KOTRA.

Bilateral trade reached $63.1 million in 2012, right after Kim took power after the death of his father Kim Jong-il. It then shrank to $27 million a year later, it said.

Tobacco accounted for the most frequently imported item to North Korea from Hong Kong, while precious metals was the most favorite export shipped to Hong Kong.

pbr@yna.co.kr
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