March 21, 2023

All Talk and No Reform?

The North Korean Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) met for a second time today in a meeting which may have left some scratching their heads. Reuters News had run reports in recent days from a well-placed source that a host of economic reforms would have been announced at the meeting, while other sources led to speculation that the meeting would be touching on laws related to the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) located at Rason and Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa Islands, especially with regards to the investment climate.  But despite all the speculation, in the end only two reform related issues were discussed according to KCNA reports on the meeting, relating to education and organizational matters.

Although KCNA reports didn’t refer directly to the reforms so many in the media had been expecting, does this mean that they weren’t discussed at all?  NK News analyst Luke Herman explores this question after first looking at the items that were discussed: