On North Korea’s economic development push

Kornelius Purba, Senior Managing Editor of the Jakarta Post, has this to say about North Korea’s economic development push:

North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong-un, has ambitions to revive the country’s collapsed economy as it is the only way to preserve his family’s control over the country. The young leader has apparently realized that he has no choice but to take quick action to rebuild the economy, as it is only a matter of several years before his regime will collapse if nothing is done to get the military-controlled economy back on track.

Kim Jong-un has taken an important preliminary step by reducing the military’s control of the economy. But his ambitions may backfire as the country has been under a military dictatorship for a very long time and the regime has little knowledge about market-based development, the key to China’s economic might today.

North Korea has little experience in opening its market to foreign investors and the few foreign companies allowed in, including those from China, have complained they were cheated.

The continuously increasing number of starving people represents a major potential threat to China’s national security in the event of a regime collapse and a subsequent flood of refugees spilling over the border. The failure to achieve food security in North Korea could destabilize the already fragile Korean Peninsula and the broader East Asia region.