Radio Free Asia(RFA) reported on Friday that the number of officially approved markets in North Korea has been rising, an indication of erosion of the regime's state-controlled rationing system.
RFA quoted Curtis Melvin, a researcher at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, as saying that the recent number was confirmed to be 468 following an analysis of satellite images of the reclusive country. It was up 32 from March.
The U.S. international broadcaster said that more than 100 official markets have been newly set up, expanded or repaired since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un came into power.
RFA said that the number of markets in the communist country would likely further increase if unofficial street markets or temporary ones were counted.