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N Korea at crossroads

North Korean shortages put out the lights and shrink marketplaces

Observations from nearby Chinese city hint at misery since COVID border closures

Vegetables and watermelons are sold at an outdoor market in the North Korean city of Hyesan during late July. The photo was taken from the Chinese city of Changbai. 

CHANGBAI, China -- North Korea's border closure with trade partner China has worsened the isolated country's economic woes, as dire shortages grind the local marketplaces crucial for everyday life nearly to a halt.

Few condominiums and houses in the North Korean city of Hyesan appeared to have lights on during a late July evening, as seen from across the Yalu River in China. Smoke rose from several houses.

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