Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 02/2014

Insanity or Part of a Plan? Prospects for Changes to North Korean Domestic and Foreign Policy

Nicolas Levi

January 2014

The Polish Institute of International Affairs


Ever since previous North Korean leader Kim Jong-il passed away in December 2011, concerns about the new North Korean regime have been growing. Although the international community has worried mainly about the country’s foreign policy, especially nuclear and missile threats, recent news about a purge in the North Korean leadership has brought to the fore the question of the regime’s internal stability. Kim Jong-un has been steadily building a new system of governance, giving more power to the Korean Workers' Party apparatus at the expense of the armed forces. He has also shown interest in boosting North Korea’s economy. In foreign and security policy, however, in the short term, North Korea is likely to continue on its previous uncompromising course.