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DPRK Bans Use of US Dollars

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) formally banned the use of US dollars in the country on Saturday.

From the start of this month, natives and foreigners are prohibited from using US dollars in daily payment and settlement. They are only allowed to use euros and other currencies instead.

The US-dollar accounts of natives and foreigners established at the Korean Trade Bank, which is in charge of foreign exchange business, must be changed into euros and other convertible currencies, said a notification letter issued by the state-run bank.

All transactions with the DPRK enterprises and units must be handled in euros and other currencies except the US dollar, the notification letter said, adding that hotels, foreign-exchange shops and foreign-related services will no longer receive US dollars.

With the entry into force of the new measure, many Pyongyang residents have turned up at Pyongyang Foreign Currency Exchange toconvert US dollars at hand into euros. Most of thom exchanged no more than 100 dollars a time.

On Saturday, staff members of Pyongyang Kyoro Hotel, the best-accommodated hotel in Pyongyang, said they no longer receive US dollars. This change will be applied to all foreign-exchange shops on Monday.

The DPRK adopted the new measure after the United States suspended heavy oil supplies to the DPRK on Nov. 14 claiming that the DPRK was developing a secret nuclear program in violation of the Agreed Framework reached in 1994. The Bush administration turned down a non-aggression treaty proposal put forward by the DPRK.

Under the agreement, the DPRK should drop its nuclear development program in return for two light water reactors and 500,000 tons of heavy oil a year from the United States.

(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2002)

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