What counts as progress in North Korea

Some analysts say they have been surprised at the new leader’s [Kim’s] willingness to criticize the status quo, most notably during a visit four months ago to an amusement park.

Although state media normally describe the North as a socialist paradise, they portrayed Kim touring the park grounds and grumbling about the state of disrepair. He spotted chipping paint, cracks in the pavement and sprouting weeds, which he plucked one by one “with an irritated look,” one media account said.

During the visit, Kim chided officials for letting the park fall into such a sorry state and for their “outdated, ideological” way of thinking. He appointed a top deputy to oversee improvements.

A follow-up report two weeks later said that “soldier-builders” were “now waging an all-out drive to turn the above-said [amusement park] into a more modern recreation ground.”

The article outlines some agricultural reforms as well.


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