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N. Korea combines 2 units managing leader's coffers into one: Seoul

All News 12:17 September 29, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea is presumed to have combined the ruling party's two units handling its leader Kim Jong-un's governing funds into one, a Seoul government official said Thursday.

North Korea is projected to have kept intact Office 39 of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) as the special unit managing state coffers while eliminating Office 38, according to an official at Seoul's unification ministry.

Office 38 is known to raise money within the country to run North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's private coffers while Office 39 is believed to manage hard currency earned from overseas.

"The integration seems to have been made years before North Korea was slapped by the latest U.N. sanctions," said the official, without revealing the specific timing.

Office 39 is also called the leader's "personal safe" for its role in raising and managing secret funds and procuring luxury goods.

Pyongyang has long pressed its diplomats and workers toiling overseas to repatriate earned hard currency to the regime, a move aimed at bankrolling its nuclear and missile programs.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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