I’m inclined with the argument made in this article. It is likely that the DPRK is now where the Soviets were in the 1980s, i.e. it’s become a matter of reform or die.
By Peter Van Buren
The American Conservative
On April 27, North Korea’s Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in will meet, ahead of a trilateral summit with President Trump in June. There is a lot to talk about, but the focus in the West on nuclear issues misses the real story: Kim may be seeking revolutionary economic upheaval. There are signs everything is about to change.
It isn’t hard to imagine Kim with a biography of former Chinese leader Deng Xiao-ping on his nightstand. Deng’s rise to power saw China’s centrally managed economy failing to feed its people, isolated from the world, and dependent on the Soviet Union. Then everything changed in 1979 when Deng secured an agreement with President Jimmy Carter that covered his security needs (no one seemed worried China had nukes), diplomatically papered over long-simmering political issues like the status of Taiwan, and allowed him to introduce changes that led directly to China’s economic ascendance.
A key sign Kim is headed the same way is the extraordinary number of concessions he has made ahead of his upcoming summits. Kim is acting like a man in a hurry.