This article was written by IWP alumna Patricia Schouker.
North Korea might choose to become like China or a new tense stand-off between Washington and Beijing could emerge.
News of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s possible ill-health rippled throughout the world, sending governments scrambling for information. Given recent developments, it could foreshadow a transition in a very uncertain future. In early December 2019, Kim addressed the Worker’s Party emphasizing the “urgent need to correct the serious situation facing the main industrial sector of the national economy.” As North Korea never publishes its economic statistics, the only figures available come from abroad. In July 2019, the South Korean Central Bank estimated that the growth of the country’s economy fell by 4.1% in 2018, the largest contraction since the devastating famine in the 1990s.