Following the dismissal of a senior military official said to be opposed to reform, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has announced that the nation will begin to experiment with agricultural and economic reforms. Pyongyang has allegedly created a special bureau to take control of the economy from the military, a significant departure away from Kim Jong-Il’s “Military-First Policy”.
Reports issued by the Bank of Korea based in Seoul have confirmed that North Korea’s real annual GDP has increased by 0.8% in 2011, a significant shift away from previous years of economic deterioration. As China increases investment in North Korea in the form of Special Economic Zones and private enterprise, Beijing has led initiatives to develop the nation’s vast mineral resources, valued at $6.1 trillion.
Prior to his death, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il visited Russia to finalize agreements with Gazprom, a Russian state-run natural gas-exporter, to construct a pipeline connecting Russia, North Korea and South Korea, giving Pyongyang an estimated $100 million in annual transit fees