North Korea Plans to Open Its Economy: Report

Kim Jong Un's regime hires economists for 'radical' change

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 5, 2013 2:28 PM CST

(Newser) – Investors haven't exactly been dying to throw their money at North Korea—but soon they may have a chance. A German newspaper reports that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seeking "radical" economic change and wants to open the country to foreign investment, Der Spiegel reports. In fact, the regime has hired German experts to help pry open the notoriously closed economy. "There is a master plan," says one of the economists. "They want to open up this year."

If it's true, Pyongyang will follow the Vietnamese model of only opening specific companies to investors (unlike, say, the Chinese model of creating economic zones for foreign investment). Other changes there may bolster the notion that something's afoot: Kim Jong Un has already given a public address (the first by a North Korean leader since 1994) and admitted that the nation's economy is a wreck. What's more, reports Global Post, a music group called Moranbong Band has gained popularity while letting its female performers indulge in a rather Western trend: short skirts. Could foreign investment be far behind?

The Moranbong Band in performance.
The Moranbong Band in performance.   (YouTube)
This is a file photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Ri Sol Ju as they clap with others during a  performance by North Korea's new Moranbong band in Pyongyang, North Korea.
This is a file photo of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and Ri Sol Ju as they clap with others during a performance by North Korea's new Moranbong band in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (AP Photo/Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service, File)
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