Things I didn’t know, part (very large number)

The United States, European Union, South Korea and Japan have submitted a list of about 40 North Korean companies to the U.N. Security Council’s sanctions committee for possible blacklisting due to Pyongyang’s recent rocket launch, envoys said on Tuesday.

The committee, which includes all 15 Security Council members, received an initial response from China that it would only consent to adding two entities to the U.N. list of banned North Korean firms, which the United States and its allies see as too few, envoys told Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

via Exclusive: U.S., allies urge sanctions for North Korea firms; China resists | Reuters.

Wait, wait: there are North Korean firms? Perhaps my understanding of internal functions there is very poor, but I was under the distinct impression that the DPRK was a fairly absolute command economy. The existence of firms in that context is perplexing.

The most likely model, I imagine, is probably the SOE’s seen pervasively throughout China: nominally run autonomously,  but with initial fiscal backing and significant marketing/production targets established by relevant government bureaus. In the case of North Korea, they might be especially helpful as international intermediaries for trade, given the climate of trade restrictions which surround the Kim regime.

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