Following the dismissal of a senior military official said to be opposed to reform, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has announced that the nation will begin to experiment with agricultural and economic reforms. Pyongyang has allegedly created a special bureau to take control of the economy from the military, a significant departure away from Kim Jong-Il’s “Military-First Policy”. Reports issued by the Bank of Korea based in Seoul have confirmed that North Korea’s real annual GDP has increased by 0.8% in 2011, a significant shift away from previous years of economic deterioration. As China increases investment in North Korea in the form of Special Economic Zones and private enterprise, Beijing has led initiatives to develop the nation’s vast mineral resources, valued at $6.1 trillion. Prior to his death, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visited Russia to finalize agreements with Gazprom, a Russian state-run natural gas-exporter, to construct a pipeline connecting Russia, North Korea and South Korea, giving Pyongyang an estimated $100 million in annual transit fees.
Exclusive: Kim plans economic change in North Korea, Reuters, July 20, 2012
Out with the Old Guard in Pyongyang, Asia Times Online, July 21, 2012
Building a “North Korean Hong Kong,” Sino-NK, April 29, 2012
Is Kim Jong Un Preparing to Become North Korea's Economic Reformer? TIME, April 19, 2012