North Korea's economy grew at its fastest pace in 17 years in 2016, despite international sanctions aimed at curbing its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Ryan Brooks reports.
A resilient showing for North Korea's economy despite waves of international sanctions. Data released by the South Korean central bank on Friday (July 21) says GDP hit a 17-year high last year. Growth figures for the North are estimated because Pyongyang doesn't post official data, leaving South Korean intelligence to gather information and come up with a number, which has come in at nearly 4 percent. Manufacturing, mining and energy appear to have lead expansion in 2016, fueling an economy that seems to be surviving in the face of punishing trade restrictions aimed at cutting off Kim Jong Un's nuclear weapons program. The data also shows that shutting down the Kaesong joint industrial complex at the border with South Korea last year did little economic damage to the North, even though it was an attempt to hurt Pyongyang after it launched a long-range rocket. North Korea may be on a positive growth track, but its GDP for 2016 only adds up to two percent of what South Korea recorded for 2016. It's also unclear how China's ban on coal imports from Pyongyang will affect the North's economy moving forward. A UN report on Thursday said the North is also facing severe famine due to one of its worst drought in decades.