June 28th Policy: It’s Regime Security, Stupid

The goals that underpin North Korea’s so-called ‘June 28th Policy’ of economic changes are rooted in the security of the Kim Jong Eun regime, and therefore it is very unlikely that any real reform and opening is going to occur.

This was the message delivered during the morning session of an academic forum, ‘Likelihood of Kim Jong Eun System Reform and Opening’, hosted today by the Korea Institute for National Unification.

According to Prof. Kwon Young Kyung of the Institute for Unification Education, “Kim Jong Eun’s four ‘treatises’ and his April 15th speech have made it perfectly clear that Kim Jong Eun will not take a single step outside the frame of his predecessors’ Suryeong ideology. Since Kim Jong Eun is constantly asserting the need to strengthen the People’s Army, we should also not anticipate any change to the strategy of the military-first line.

“While the North Korean economic improvement policy is preserving the governing systems of the Chosun Workers’ Party and the Suryeong dictatorship, we can say that they are at the level of seeking some changes,” Kwon continued. However, “It’s very hard to imagine Kim Jong Eun, who has said that ‘we must take Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism as the revolution’s sole guiding ideology’, becoming a reformer, something which related documents clearly show.”

For the June 28th Policy to succeed, Prof. Kwon added, the following features would be needed: ▲ guaranteed funding for the initial production by work units; ▲ an enforceable and enforced ban on the expropriation of excess production by the authorities; ▲ financial reforms to allow autonomous economic activities by work units and individuals.

“They have to bring in a system of partial private enterprise like the Chinese ‘Household-Responsibility System’ at the same time,” Prof. Kwon added.

Researcher Kim Jung Ho of Korea Eximbank agreed with the position of Prof. Kwon in his own speech, saying, “If they really do bring in economic improvement measures, then they will be a tool for the strengthening of the economic foundations of the new regime rather than a way to improve the lives of the North Korean people.”

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