Current Publications

The 2020 Parliamentary Session in North Korea: Self-Criticism and Dubious Optimism Concerning Economic Development

Author(s)
Rüdiger Frank
Abstract

The North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly session took place this Sunday. Here are the main takeaways:

-North Korea’s economy remains inward-oriented. Neither a major crisis nor a major economic breakthrough was reported.

-The term “sanctions” did not appear a single time in the report, reflecting the official, defiant position towards that issue; nevertheless, they seem to have contributed to a greater availability of mineral resources for domestic use.

-Grain production has supposedly increased strongly, allowing the state to shift the focus of its agricultural policy towards a more diverse diet.

-The COVID-19 pandemic did have an impact on North Korea’s economy, although it is still claimed that the country does not have a single infection.

-Self-criticism appears in both reports, including the ominous admission of “some drawbacks in executing the state budget.”

-If we use budgetary revenue as a proxy, the North Korean economy in 2019 grew moderately, but more strongly than in 2017 and 2018.

-Economic planners seem to be cautiously optimistic about the prospects for the development of the economy in 2020; however, the report presents no evidence about which sector or factor is the cause of this optimism.

Organisation(s)
Department of East Asian Studies
Journal
38 North
Publication date
04-2020
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
502027 Political economy
Keywords
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/the-2020-parliamentary-session-in-north-korea-selfcriticism-and-dubious-optimism-concerning-economic-development(b20f0715-ebf5-4414-b9d4-cb42842c10e1).html