NK's economic reform may take effect in October: report
North Korea is likely to put its new economic reform policies into action in early October, a news report said Friday.
The new policies, tentatively called the "June 28 new economy management system," may take effect from early October, Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Friday.
"I have heard rumors here and there that the regime adopted a new economic measure and an official told me that the time this measure will take effect will be early October," RFA quoted a North Korean surnamed Kim in Pyongyang as having said.
Kim said he was not aware of the details of the reform but it is likely to be mainly aimed at introducing market prices in place of state-determined prices, RFA reported.
The latest reform attempts mirror the country's similar reformist efforts in 2002, when wages and rice prices were sharply lifted to match market levels.
Increased bill issuance following the wage and rice price hikes triggered severe inflation, causing the reform drive to fail.
Some North Korean citizens are worried about the coming changes due to bitter memories of the botched 2002 measures, RFA quoted Kim as saying.
With the forthcoming introduction of the reform, North Korea is tightening its grip on border security and stepping up public security efforts, North Korean watchers said.
Analysts said the new measures may herald tangible changes in the reclusive country.
The new measures seem to be an updated and revised version of the 2002 reform drive, Lim Kang-taeg, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said. "It looks like North Korea attempts to resolve its economic problems within its own frame by tightening the regime's control of the economic issues and improving productivity," Kim said.
Without more dramatic reforms, the North may only repeat the failure of the 2002 reform. Thus "the latest policy change is likely to be bigger in scale than the July 1 measure in 2002," said Lee Yong-hoon, an analyst at SK Research Institute.
It is too early to forecast results as the details of the reform have yet to be known, other analysts said.
South Korea is closely watching North Korea's actions to rejuvenate its citizens' livelihoods, said the spokesman for Seoul's Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean issues.
"The (Seoul) government is aware of North Korea's discussion and consideration over various changes in the economic sector since the launch of the new leadership," spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said in a press briefing. What specific measures the North has taken have not been confirmed, the spokesman said.
"The Seoul government hopes the North will make a good choice and take action in a way it quells the global communities' concerns, including the nuclear issue, and improves the welfare of its people," he said.(Yonhap)