9/27 The North Korean Economy and Its Future: Change vs. the Status Quo

The First North Korea Economic Forum Annual Conference

 “The North Korean Economy and Its Future:

Change vs. the Status Quo”



The North Korean economy went through a turbulent period since the UN Security Council imposed unprecedented sanctions targeting North Korea’s key foreign currency earning exports. In response to the changing external dynamics and internal marketization, Kim Jong-un announced a “new strategic line” putting relatively more emphasis on economic development. In this context, our first North Korea Economic Forum Conference will examine the current state of the North Korean economy and North Korea’s adaptation and coping strategies. The first session will focus on North Korea’s changing monetary system, the likelihood of North Korea’s reform and opening up, and alternatives to inter-Korean economic cooperation. The second session will discuss North Korea’s economic coping strategies and the signs of political leadership adaptation in dealing with UN sanctions and changing security dynamics. The third session will examine the role of top-down economic policies and institutional strategy and bottom-up logistics revolution.


***Registration is closed. Thank you!***

Program Download (PDF)

Abstract Download (PDF)


09:00 a.m. – 09:15 a.m. Registration


09:15 a.m. – 09:45 a.m. Breakfast Reception


09:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.   Congratulatory Remarks 

Moderator: Jisoo M. Kim (Director, GW Institute for Korean Studies)

Reuben E. Brigety (Dean, Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University)

Jong-Il You (Dean, KDI School of Public Policy and Management)

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.   Session I. Current state of the North Korean economy 

Moderator: Wook Sohn (Professor and Associate Dean, KDI School of Public Policy and Management)

William Brown (Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University), “North Korea and Its Money”

Joongho Kim (Visiting Scholar, GW Institute for Korean Studies), “Demystifying the North Korean Economy: Implications for the Future Engagement”

Kevin Gray (Professor of International Relations, Center for Global Political Economy, University of Sussex), “Present and Future Trajectories of North Korean Development in Comparative Perspective”

Comments and Q&A


12:00 p.m. – 01:30 p.m.  Keynote Luncheon 

Keynote Speaker: Mark Lippert (Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea)


01:30 p.m. – 02:45 p.m.  Session II.  North Korea’s Coping Strategies and Political Adaptation 

Moderator: William Newcomb (Chair, North Korea Economic Forum at the GW Institute of Korean Studies)

Sue Mi Terry (Senior Fellow, Korea Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies), “Assessing the Impact of Sanctions, North Korea’s Evasion Efforts, and Its Overall Strategy”

Ken Gause (Director, Adversary Analytics Program, International Affairs Group, Center for Naval Analyses), “North Korean Leadership Dynamics, Sanctions, Relief, and the Period of Diplomacy”

Comments and Q&A

02:45 p.m. – 03:00 p.m.  Coffee Break


03:00 p.m. – 04:15 p.m.  Session III. The Role of Economic Policies and Market Efficiency in Adaptation and Coping Strategies”

Moderator: Celeste Arrington (Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, the George Washington University)

Jong-Kyu Lee (Research Fellow, Korea Development Institute), “North Korea’s Economic Challenges: Focusing on the Kim Jong Un Era”

Yonho Kim (Associate Director, GW Institute for Korean Studies), “North Korea’s Logistics Revolution and a New Business Era of ‘Stay-at-Home’ Merchants”


Comments and Q&A


Photo ©Korea Tourism Organization

One thought on “9/27 The North Korean Economy and Its Future: Change vs. the Status Quo

  1. My participation is part of my attendance in Professor Arrington’s Politics of the Two Koreas class.

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