The Washington Post emphasizes that North Korea, under Kim Jong Un, has shifted its rhetoric to emphasize the economy rather than the military, and is introducing small-scale agricultural reforms with tantalizing elements of capitalism, according to diplomats and defector groups with informants in the North.
The changes, which allow farmers to keep more of their crops and sell surpluses in the private market, are in the experimental stage and are easily reversible, analysts caution. But even skeptical North Korea watchers say that Kim’s emerging policies and style — and his frank acknowledgment of the country’s economic problems — hint at an economic opening similar to China’s in the late 1970s.
Analysts and outside government officials say it depends on the ambitions of its 20-something supreme leader, who can either bring his destitute country out of isolation or keep it there, figuring it too risky to loosen state controls.
Analysts emphasize that it could take years for a clear answer, but they point to early indications that Kim is willing to run the country differently than his father, who died eight months ago. It is not known whether the Swiss-educated Kim has a worldview different from that of his dour and militant father.