Andrei Lankov writes: Kim Jong-un’s administration continues to implement economic reforms, even though, unlike missile tests and overseas assassinations, these reforms seldom attract the attention of the world media.
In essence, these reforms are strikingly similar to what China did in the late 1970s. In North Korea, the Soviet-style command economy is gradually dismantled, while market economy and private entrepreneurship is increasingly accepted and encouraged.
For example, the state-run and state-owned farms have been largely disbanded in recent years, and family farms gradually became the country’s major agricultural production units. The results were predictable: a significant increase in food production.
These events demonstrate the three major dimensions of Kim Jong-un’s policy: he is strengthening his ability to deter a foreign attack, he is eliminating possible rivals in the country elite, and he is speeding up market-oriented – and rather successful – economic reforms.
These three policies serve one overriding goal: to keep Kim in power. The hereditary leader of North Korea wants to stay in power indefinitely, and thus he is trying to deal with the three major threats which he thinks might bring him and his regime down. [Continue reading…]