Shenyang, China — Yun Gi Jeong, the 82-year old former Finance Director of the old Administration Council (now known as the Cabinet), has apparently been charged with resolving the crisis in the chaotic people’s economy.
Her elevation may represent an attempt to steady the ship following the disastrous currency redenomination and rumored execution of former economic boss Park Nam Ki.
The chair of a people’s unit in a neighborhood of Shinuiju told The Daily NK on Tuesday, “Prices have been fluctuating since the redenomination, but now a notice has been handed down from the Cabinet saying that they will be stabilized by April 1. It says the Cabinet will deal with this confusion in the people’s economy.”
He said that Yun Gi Jeong, who resigned her office in the Administration Council some years ago, had been brought back to the Cabinet to bring order to the chaos.
“Upon her return to the Cabinet,” the source added, “the rice price started dropping. It was over 1,500 won early March, but has now settled at around the 600 won level.”
According to his explanation, the North’s authorities intend to try and cap rising prices by April 1. The authorities released official price ceilings on February 4th; rice was 240 won and corn 130 won per kilogram, but these rapidly proved unrealistic.
Another source from North Hamkyung Province told the Daily NK yesterday, “When the rumor that they would restart distribution as normal came out, rice prices dropped drastically. As the news of Yun Gi Jeong came out, rice prices and exchange rates also went down. However, people still feel frustration at the fluctuating exchange rate.”
Yun Gi Jeong was born in Seoul in 1928 and served as the Finance Director of the Administration Council for almost 20 years from April, 1980. After her resignation in 1999 she became the President of the National Economic Institute, and is now an honorary professor at Kim Il Sung University, a member of the Party Central Committee and a delegate to the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly.
One defector who was a high official in North Korea explained to The Daily NK today, “Yun Gi Jeong is a person who Kim Il Sung was in favor of. After he died, she stepped back from the economic field.”
He added, “She tends to stick to her principles and is known to be a workaholic. Kim Jong Il presumably asked her to solve the economic problems because she is an old hand in the economic field.”