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North Korea eyes `denim jeans diplomacy` to end isolation

Last Updated: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 11:39

London: North Korea will be exporting designer jeans to Sweden, after the two countries sealed a deal.

The jeans will be going on sale in an upmarket store in Stockholm under the label Noko, with each pair costing SEK 1,500 (GBP 131), which is more than two years` wages for an average North Korean.

According to the Guardian, the jeans come in two styles, the slim-fit Kara and loose-fit Oke, and are made in black rather than blue denim.

Blue denim is a `symbol of American imperialism` to the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, Jacob AstrOm, one of the Swedish importers, said.

The denim diplomacy took place over two years of negotiation, and people in Sweden said the deal was finalised over a shot of Swedish vodka.

Two officials at the North Korean embassy in Stockholm confirmed that the business was legitimate.

North Korea, built on a philosophy of "self-reliance" and national pride, largely sees foreigners and foreign goods as a threat.

According to the report, most countries refuse to trade with Pyongyang because of its poor human rights record, and Astrom said he knew of no other European trading partner.

Jean-Jacques Grauhar, the secretary general of the Seoul-based EU chamber of commerce in Korea, said the new jeans would help boost North Korea`s image, the report added.


First Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 11:38

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