PYONGYANG, North Korea – Is North Korea's air force selling canned soup and taxi rides to upgrade runways and airstrips?
Amid the tough sanctions against the North because of its nuclear weapons, the answer may well be yes. The explanation gives some insight into how North Korea's economy works under Kim Jong Un. The military augments its budget by operating other businesses, and flagship airline Air Koryo is one of North Korea's most recognizable brands.
Air Koryo has its own fleet of taxis and a department store in central Pyongyang has aisles devoted to Air Koryo products, from liquor to soda to canned peaches.
The economy under Kim has shifted toward capitalist-style entrepreneurialism, and while it's impossible to know how profitable it is, the swelling variety of goods and their ready availability are undeniable.