Shah Suraj Bharat/Jakarta
Photo by Uri Tours (Wikipedia)
The peace process between the two Koreas is exactly– a peace process – something that has eluded the peninsula after 70 years of hostility. Investors, policymakers and the international community will have to be patient on the potential for market reform in North Korea. Yet, there is reason for quiet optimism, judging by the actions and statements of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
After becoming leader in 2012, Kim signaled a change in economic strategy to a focus on development, saying North Koreans would no longer have to “tighten their belts twice”, a subtle acknowledgment of the shortcomings of the command economy. In March 2013, Kim called for byungjin (parallel advance) on developing nuclear capabilities while building the economy. This contrasted to his father Kim Jong-il’s focus on defense, implicitly survival, as the paramount concern of the state.