The Washington Post

North Koreans visit Sweden, ask how their economy works

A North Korean business and trade delegation visited Sweden Friday, in a trip that was at least partly funded by the Swedish government.

"The participants are from universities, state export companies and the North Korean foreign trade ministry. They have been invited by the International Council of Swedish Industry," a Swedish public radio station reported.

North Korea’s economy is centrally controlled and plagued by chronic food shortages, but the country’s new leader, Kim Jong-Eun, has hinted at reforms.

Among other stops, the delegation visited a Stockholm vegetable wholesaler, who said the North Koreans asked basic questions about the government’s control of the economy there, according to the Swedish news site :

"They asked how much we earn, what the average salary is and many of the questions were about how involved the government is," [marketing director] Benny Olsson said.

"They asked us if the government decided what the company's maximum salary is....They come from a completely different world, they don't understand our world and I don't understand theirs," he said.

Sweden was among the first Western nations to establish diplomatic relations with the reclusive Asian country.

Click here to see more photos from inside North Korea:

View Photo Gallery: A rare visual tour inside the reclusive and secretive country.

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