Socio-Economic and Political Change in the DPRK
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The present moment represents an inflection point marking the end of Kim Jong Il-era muddle through and the beginning of Kim Jong Un's determined and pro-active regime consolidation phase. Rightly or wrongly, Kim Jong Un's government has noticeably quickened the pace of decisive policy decision-making in pursuit of a simultaneous nuclear security and economic development program, with a fully operation nuclear deterrent in place to provide the umbrella under which new economic measures can be rolled out. In this context, a number of actors-from international agencies and foreign missionary groups working on capacity-building projects to Chinese business interests investing in North Korea's special economic zones and a growing local entrepreneurial class-are beginning to influence governance within the DPRK. This presentation explores these developments in the context of North Korea's domestic governance and its flow-on effects for regional politics.