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Looking at North Korea through a decidedly more optimistic lens

Published Thu, Dec 17, 2015 · 09:50 PM

Tokyo

WITH so much happening on the geo-strategic front in East Asia of late, the issue of North Korea has slipped below many people's attention horizon and that, in turn, means that economic changes in the so-called "hermit" nation have gone largely unnoticed in the outside world. This, at least, is the view of one analyst whose claim to expert knowledge of the country is stronger than that of many other North Korea watchers - Robert Carlin, a former chief of the Northeast Asia Division of the US State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research.

Far from subscribing to the "collapsist" theories that some analysts hold about North Korea (or the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK), Mr Carlin argues that the country's economy is improving, a middle class is emerging and that wealth is "flowing out from Pyongyang to the provinces". Moreover, he suggests that, far from being the transitory phenomenon tha…

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