Choco Pie Goes Bye-bye at the Joint Industrial Complex in Kaesong


North Korean authorities have reportedly ordered South Korean businesses to stop handing out Choco Pies to the North’s workers at the countries’ join industrial complex in Kaesong, according to South Korean media.

The popular South Korean snack cakes were often used as bonus payments to workers from the South’s businesses in the Kaesong complex. For years, the businesses would give each worker around 10 to 12 Choco Pies, and the items would increasingly be used as valuable black market currency in the country, reported the English Chosun.

However, a South Korean Unification Ministry official reported this week that workers are now demanding other forms of payment, like sausages, instant noodles and chocolate bars.

Though no official reason has been given for why this apparent Choco Pie ban went into effect, the growing popularity of the snacks, which could potentially be used as South Korean propaganda, is suspected to be a factor. Just last month, a group of eight South Korean organizations sent large balloons carrying Choco Pies to North Korea. Kim Yong-hwa, the leader of one of the organizations, the North Korea Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea, told KBS that the organizations will regularly send the cakes to the North until the day the two Koreas are reunified.

As of April 2013, about 100 South Korean companies were employing some 53,000 North Korean workers and 800 South Korean staff at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a collaborative economic development that started in 2002. The industrial park is located about six miles north of the Demilitarized Zone.

Photo via Steven Tom