Western Aid: The Missing Link for North Korea's Economic Revival?

Nicholas Eberstadt
Content Type
Working Paper
American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
As the leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (hereafter DPRK, or North Korea) looks to the future, economic development figures centrally in its officially proclaimed agenda. This year, as it has done every year over the past decade, the government's joint New Year editorial stressed the imperative of economic construction, broadly outlining the sorts of improvements that are to be achieved over the remainder of the current calendar year, and intoned that "The present grand onward march for the improvement of the people's standard of living demands that a full-scale offensive be launched in the overall economic front." But economic growth and development has just taken on a whole new importance in North Korean policy, one that extends beyond rhetoric: this past January, for the first time in over two decades, Pyongyang has formally unveiled a new multi-year economic plan: a 10-year "strategy plan for economic development" under a newly formed State General Bureau for Economic Development. The new economic plan is intended not only to meet the DPRK's longstanding objective of becoming a "powerful and prosperous country" [Kangsong Taeguk] by 2012 (the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung), but also to promote North Korea to the ranks of the "advanced countries in 2020."
Development, Economics, Foreign Aid
Political Geography
Israel, South Korea, North Korea