A New Year's Day speech by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on improving the nation's economy and calling for better relations with South Korea has sparked a flurry of speculation that Pyongyang is planning a shift in direction in 2013. Is economic reform coming to North Korea? Are relations between North and South about to undergo a major turnabout? Is the North preparing to change its spots?
Prepare to be disappointed.
Experience tells us that a healthy dose of scepticism is in order when we see hints of possible change in the DPRK. We have been down this road many times before and we are best served by taking such pronouncements from Pyongyang with a large grain of salt.
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