11/01/2018, 12.50
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Calls for greater freedom for private enterprise in North Korea

An article published in the ruling party’s official newspaper calls on the regime to change its centrally planned model and open up to free enterprise. As a result of the fall of world communism and cooler relations with Beijing, Pyongyang must show that it can support itself.

Pyongyang (AsiaNews) – North Korea should change its economic policies to expand the autonomy of enterprises and ensure the responsibility of workers. This would “improve their business management,” writes Ri Ki-song, a professor at the Institute of Economy of North Korea's Academy of Social Sciences, in an article published in Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

"It is important to take strong and practical measures so that the socialist enterprises, the basic units of production and management, can demonstrate their responsibility, initiative and creativity, with the socialist system of responsibility and management of enterprises having effects," Ri wrote.

These conditions must be applied first of all to industries including coal, thermal power, machinery, metal, chemical and light industry. This must be followed by the modernisation of advanced technologies such as information technology, nanotechnology and biotechnology, while creating new high-tech sectors.

The scholar goes on to suggest that a new phase in North Korea’s economic development should start. Since it was founded, the Workers' Party has been in charge of the economy. In effect, this means the Kim family, which has ruled the country since 1953.

This model has been disastrous. Several famines occurred in the 1990s as a result of a structural weakness that the regime has always denied, but that it could paper over thanks to aid from Russia and China.

With the fall of world communism and the cooling of bilateral relations with Beijing, Pyongyang now seems ready to radically change its economy, effectively opening the doors to capitalism and free enterprise.

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