September 21, 2020

Losing face: Explaining Pyongyang’s currency change

Why North Korea revamping its 5,000-won bill is not like 2009’s debacle

This week, North Korea’s central bank began replacing the country’s highest denomination currency unit: the 5,000 won. After paying visits to the Korean Central Bank to make their own exchanges, Daily NK sources in the borderland confirmed the appearance of the replacement bill: On the front, an image of the house at Mangyongdae in Pyongyang where the government claims, seemingly falsely, that Kim Il Sung was born, and on the back the cavernous International Friendship Exhibition complex at Mt. Myohang, where gifts bestowed upon Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are stored and displayed.

Ergo, there is no likeness of Kim Il Sung, the nation’s founder, on the newest incarnation of its money.