[Feature] The Kim Jong-Un Era Changes in North Korean Economy / Lee Seok-gi

The Quarterly Changbi 181, Autumn 2018

 

Abstract

Due to the Panmunjom inter-Korean summit in April and the first North Korea-US summit in Singapore in June, the possibility of resuming inter-Korean economic cooperation is increasing. However, the state of North Korean economy is not well known, not only among ordinary people, but also among economists outside of North Korea. Lee Seok-gi explores circumstances and conditions for inter-Korean economic collaboration by examining recent trends in North Korean economy and, in particular, concrete contents of its economic reform. After an overview of recent North Korean economy, whose recovery has been underway since 1998, he argues that the economic reform measures during the Kim Jong-un period both succeed the Kim Jong-il period economic reforms and advance them by institutionalizing them. His diagnosis that the Kim Jong-un era reform measures finally solved the key problem in North Korean economic control system reform, i.e., how to embrace a market in its official system, and officially recognized and embraced a market as an essential part of its system of a planned economy will have profound implications in future inter-Korean economic collaboration.