Navigating North Korea’s power structure


In North Korea, all authority flows from Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un. He has reinstated the party as the central hub to consolidate his power and bring elites to heel, analyst Eleanor Albert writes for the Council on Foreign Relations:

Kim Jong-un has deftly navigated his rise to power. While drawing on nostalgia for his grandfather’s era and grandiose persona, “Kim Jong-un is also determined to be seen as a ‘modern leader’ of a ‘modern North Korea,’” writes the Brookings Institution’s Jung H. Pak [a contributor to a recent conference hosted by the National Endowment for Democracy]. Economic development is fashioned as the vehicle for this modernization.

“North Korea is entering a critical period of change under a regime that has by and large resisted rapid change and outside influence,” Albert adds. “Even as the ultimate authority, they say, Kim will need to cultivate the support of enough elites and successfully manage the pace of change to meet his goal of making North Korea a strong and prosperous nation.”

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