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North Korea Defies Isolation With Fastest Growth Since 2008

North Korea’s economy is estimated to have expanded at the fastest pace since 2008 last year, even as Kim Jong Un’s regime faced increasing isolation over its missile tests and nuclear-weapons program.

Gross domestic product in the totalitarian state increased 1.3 percent in 2012 after a 0.8 percent rise in 2011, according to calculations released by South Korea’s central bank today in Seoul. The North’s economy has contracted in four of the last seven years, the Bank of Korea’s data show.