Not only are the sons and daughters of North Korea’s highest-ranked elite wielding influence outside the sphere of leader Kim Jong Un – they are also displaying it in public, a news outlet run by a high-profile defector said Tuesday.
The people mentioned in the report have access to external trade and foreign currency and many officials bring money to secure an audience with them. They appear untouchable by law, the report said, even though political factions can be gravely punished in North Korea. [….]
North Korea observers say children of the elite in Pyongyang often enjoy special rights and in the past fought among themselves to wrest control away from each other. Some say that the number of businesspeople is on the rise in recent years, thanks to a looser grip on the flow of money and information than under Mr. Kim’s father, who died in 2011. [Wall Street Journal, via New Focus, in Korean]
They sound like the sort of entitled arrivistes who would embrace the profitable aspects of engagement, yet who would also have every reason to ensure that engagement didn’t change the system that enriched them.