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North Korea gets $15 website redesign, online souvenir store

North KoreaKim Jong UnU.S. Department of State

North Korea has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on its ill-fated rocket program, but when it came time to give its website a facelift, the country decided to go the thrifty route.

It turns out that North Korea's revamped website is based on a design template created by a California Web designer that sells on themeforest.com for a mere $15.

But just because it was cheap doesn't mean it's not pretty.

In fact, we'd say the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) more than got its money's worth.

The communist country's cheapskate ways were uncovered by Michael DiTanna, a junior at Fordham University, who was researching North Korean official media for a Korean history and political science class, reports Wired.

DiTanna told Wired that after visiting the official English version of the DPRK site, he noticed that it used some common open-source Web elements, so he decided to dig a little deeper. In just 15 minutes, he was able to find the original $15 template that the country used to design its website.

Robert Westmore, the guy who built the original template, had no idea that North Korea was one of his customers, until Fox News contacted him to find out what he thought about having North Korea as a client.

"As a Web designer I'm always happy to see my work getting utilized," Westmore told the news outlet. "Especially when it's on a high-profile website."

Later he tweeted, "North Korea uses the Blender theme, I like their style!"

Visitors to the website are treated to a slide show of images from North Korea, including a hyper-colored children's performance and a Normal Rockwell-style portrait of former leader Kim Il Sung, grandfather of current leader Kim Jong Un, surrounded by joyful admirers of all ages.

There's even a gift shop where North Korean supporters can buy a golf tee with the North Korean emblem and a throw pillow featuring the North Korean flag that will "add stylish fun to any room."

If you suddenly find yourself considering a trip to North Korea, however, you might consider reading the U.S. State Department's warning about visiting the country first.  

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