Defectors Blame Kim Jong-un for N.Korea's Economic Failure

  • By Kim Myong-song

    November 05, 2018 12:56

    The living conditions of North Koreans have deteriorated since the isolated state allocated huge sums of money to developing nuclear weapons and testing long-range missiles, prompting unprecedented U.S. sanctions.

    The conclusion comes from interviews the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University conducted with 87 defectors who fled the North last year and this year.

    Only about one-third said they had enough to eat, and many said they went hungry "once in a while" or "often." Not many earned more than W100,000 in South Korean money a month.

    Asked what they felt was the biggest stumbling block to North Korea's economic development, about half blamed Kim Jong-un, and many cited the bureaucracy.

    About half said Kim is doing a poor job, though the rest still feel he is doing well even though they have fled the country.

    Asked why they defected, about half cited dissatisfaction with the regime or other political reasons, but a quarter gave economic reasons.

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