|North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visits a store selling dinnerware in Pyongyang. (Yonhap)|
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un announced on Saturday his country’s nuclear and missile tests coupled with a key nuclear test site will be scrapped with the completion of his signature policy known as “byungjin.” The policy also known as “parallel advance,” pushes for simultaneous growth of nuclear weapons and economic growth.
He also vowed to create an “international environment favorable” to its economy and “facilitate close contact and active dialogue” with neighboring countries and the international community.
An editorial in Rodong Sinmun called for the completion of new economic management, which Kim introduced in 2012, and a full implementation of such measures. It also highlighted the recent shift in the North’s “strategic line,” saying that it must now concentrate on building a socialist economy as a global military and political power.
North Korea has refrained from directly referring to Kim Jong-un’s embrace of capitalism after he rose to power in 2011, cautiously referring to it as “economic management in our own style.” It is viewed as part of his goal of making the North an economically strong country by 2020.
The Seoul-based expert also said that layers of crippling sanctions imposed by the United Nations will first have to be lifted in order for Kim to implement his plan.
The measures resemble those adopted by China in the early years of its turn to capitalism in the 1980s, experts say. Some say Kim seeks to position himself after Deng Xiaoping, who opened China’s economy to the west in the late 1970s, prompting an economic boom.
The North’s economy is currently in a dire state, analysts say, due to layers of crippling sanctions imposed by the United Nations to place a cap on the North’s nuclear advance. The pressure campaign was triggered by the rogue nation’s relentless missile tests throughout last year.
US officials, including President Donald Trump, have hailed the maximum pressure campaign as the main reason that pushed Kim to the dialogue table – and eventually announcing to halt its missile provocations.
The inter-Korean summit, which will be the third of its kind, is scheduled to take place at the TruceVillage of Panmunjeom on Friday. It is expected to be followed by a separate meeting between Trump and Kim in May or June.
By Jung Min-kyung (firstname.lastname@example.org)