HANOI • The breakdown of US President Donald Trump’s talks in Hanoi with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un raises an old question again: How much are US-led sanctions hurting the North Korean economy? Due to a paucity of information, it is hard to say for sure – but things do not exactly look good. Last July, the Seoul-based Bank of Korea estimated that the North Korean economy had seen its biggest decline in two decades, with the country’s real annual gross domestic product falling by 3.5 per cent in 2017. Notably, the Bank of Korea estimated that North Korea’s exports declined 37.2 per cent in a single year.
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