Asia
Commentary

Kim Jong Un’s Risky Gambit

in Program

Kim Jong Un is in the midst of a complex juggling act. He has to keep at least four crucial, long-term initiatives in the air, and he cannot afford to drop any of them. Roughly speaking, Kim’s concerns seem to be the following:

  • Improving relations with the US, ROK and China;
  • Launching economic reforms, including a major overhaul of the Cabinet;
  • Revamping the ingrained habits and mindsets in the central and provincial bureaucracies; and
  • Keeping the Korean People’s Army (KPA) happy and occupied.

How extensive the scenario planning for such a complicated and intertwined set of policy goals has been we can’t know, but despite the impression that they are impulsive and short-sighted, in many ways, the North Koreans tend to be meticulous and long-range in their approach. The evidence we do have suggests planning started at least in 2017 and possibly as early as the May 2016 Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) Congress.

Read full article

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Part of the 38North.org Project
Choose Your Subscription Topics
* indicates required
I'm interested in...
38 North: News and Analysis on North Korea
South Asian Voices