DPRK Economic Policy One Year after Nuclear Test

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
NK Brief No. 07-10-18-1

One year after the DPRK nuclear test, North Korea is still focusing all of their policy efforts on restoring their economy. North Korean leaders are convinced that an economic revival is crucial for the survival and stability of their regime.

The DPRK stated in this year’s New Year Joint Editorial, a publication that presents the regime’s policy direction for the year, that “the founding of a strong national economy is a crucial requirement for the revolution and advancement of our society, and is a historic undertaking toward becoming a fully prosperous and powerful nation.” The emphasis on “focusing all the state’s efforts on solving the economic issue,” was indicative of their sense of imminence regarding economic revival.

The Joint Editorial presenting the DPRK’s national goal of “founding a strong national economy” came out three months after the October nuclear test, which took place just over one year ago. Since its publication, the North Korean media has been stressing that the DPRK already realized powerful military strength and strong political ideology, and must now strive to establish a strong national economy. The military might of the nation was epitomized by the success of the nuclear test.

A copy of the North Korean quarterly publication “Politics & Law Review” obtained on September 14th emphasized the need to establish a strong national economy, stating that “without a strong national economy, it is impossible to strengthen the forces of political ideology and military power,” and, “the only way to block the infiltration of economic imperialism is by strengthening economic power.” It also added that “if we are weaker than South Korea, we will naturally look to them and depend on them.”

North Korean press claims that Kim Jong Il’s decision to carry out a nuclear test was the reason the 6-party talks have been working since January’s meeting between the United States and the DPRK in Berlin, thus easing tensions on the Korean peninsula by ameliorating the U.S.-DPRK relationship and advancing inter-Korean relations. The fact that 18 out of 55 public appearances (a significantly higher proportion than that of last year) made by Kim Jong Il this year were visits to economic bureaus also reflects North Korea’s economic ‘all-in.’ North Korea’s pro-active movement toward ameliorating relations with the United States, and its determination to expand inter-Korean economic cooperation, all stem from its urgency to develop their economy in order to stabilize their regime.


Comments are closed.