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10 years of Kim Jong-un: Kim Jong-un regime settles down, but economy worse than ever Updated: 2021-12-16 08:19:23 KST


Though initially considered inexperienced, Kim Jong-un has quickly reshaped North Korea into the "Kim Jong-un regime" since he came to power less than two weeks after his father's death from a sudden heart attack in 2011.
To secure his rule, the younger Kim was driven and ruthless enough to have his potential competitors killed, even his own half-brother and his uncle.
By transferring the regime's power structure from the military to the Workers' Party, the 37-year-old leader has tried to make the regime into a "normal socialist country," a move that distinguishes him from his predecessors and an image he's long coveted.

Also long at the top of his agenda -- nuclear and missile development -- and there he's staged four nuclear tests and around sixty missile tests so far.
But his aggressive pursuit of weapons test has come at a price.
The North's economy is worse than ever.
In less than a decade, its annual trade volume has shrunk from over six billion U.S. dollars to less than nine-hundred million dollars in less than a decade.

Earlier this year, Kim admitted that his economic policies had failed, and has since vowed all efforts to keep the North Korean people full and warm, but international sanctions, natural disasters and border closure due to the pandemic haven't made the situation any better.

(KOREAN)
"If people's lives don't improve, Kim is highly likely to see his difficulties continue. To keep public sentiment in check, he needs to get the economy on track, which would likely help him improve diplomatic relations with other countries."

Making matters worse, Pyeongyang could be facing its toughest moment yet -- nuclear diplomacy with Washington now at a standstill along with inter-Korean dialogue.
While the North is digs in on its demand that the U.S. drop what the regime sees as a hostile policy, Washington's number one condition for talks is still denuclearization.

In apologizing for the failure of his policies, Kim Jong-un publicly shed tears, seeking a heart-to-heart relationship with his people and to be seen as a humane and communicative supreme leader.
But analysts warn that North Korea's troubles will continue unless the reclusive state fundamentally changes its rigid system and ideology of going it alone.
Kim Dami, Arirang News.
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