SEOUL, July 12 (UPI) — A combination of heavy sanctions and a mass mobilization movement known as the “200-day battle” may be taking a toll on North Korea.
Educational material that circulates internally in the country acquired by South Korean news agency Yonhap show the state is urging readers to curb wasteful behavior.
“No matter how production surges if there is waste it is the same as pouring water into a bottomless jar,” the material read.
The same document also urged households and offices to install LED lighting in order to save “tens of thousands of kilowatts of electricity.”
“Saving is a sacred duty for the sake of the republic and an expression of patriotism,” the document read.
North Korea has previously issued similar statements urging citizens to tighten their belts in the face of international sanctions, according to Yonhap.
Sources in North Korea also say the price of rice has risen in the wake of a “200-day” mass mobilization movement that rallies ordinary North Koreans to volunteer free labor to state construction and other projects.
The price of 2.2 pounds of rice in Pyongyang had risen to 5,100 North Korean won, up 150 won from June, Daily NK reported Tuesday.
The sharpest increase was reported in the North Korean border city of Hyesan, up 650 won to 5,500 won per 2.2 pounds.
There is no official exchange rate for the North Korean currency, but in several cities the rate stood at about 8,300 won to the U.S. dollar.
North Korea’s flourishing gray markets are also struggling because of state-related intervention, according to Radio Free Asia.
Wives of powerful North Korean state executives have begun to regulate trade in the markets, according to a source in North Hamgyong Province.
Some of the new regulators have confiscated clothing being sold because they still had South Korean labels, according to the source.