By Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein
Yonhap reports (citing Joongang Ilbo) that since last year, private North Korean citizens are able to register ownership of cars formally and legally. The headline is slightly misleading – visitors and pictures from Pyongyang and other large cities have long since showed a vast increase of cars in the country, so their existence there is itself nothing new. However, if a change has occurred in ownership structures to make an already prevalent practice formally legal, it follows along with a trend over the past few years where practices already taking place are further incorporated into a formal legal framework:
Under civil law, North Koreans are allowed to possess cars and bequeath or inherit them, but in reality, people register cars under the name of organizations, not under the name of individuals.
Local newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported that ordinary North Koreans have been permitted to register cars in their names since late last year, a move that heralds the recognition of private ownership.
The Ministry of Unification, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said more North Koreans are moving to own vehicles for personal use.
N. Koreans showing inclination to possess cars: unification ministry