The Washington Post has an article published that features interviews with 25 recently defected North Koreans that explains what life is like under the Kim Jong-un regime. I did not read anything I did not already know, but it is an interesting article none the less:
When Kim Jong Un became the leader of North Korea almost six years ago, many North Koreans thought that their lives were going to improve. He offered the hope of generational change in the world’s longest-running communist dynasty. After all, he was so young. A millennial. Someone with experience of the outside world.
But the “Great Successor,” as he is called by the regime, has turned out to be every bit as brutal as his father and grandfather before him. Even as he has allowed greater economic freedom, he has tried to seal the country off more than ever, tightening security along the border with China and stepping up the punishments for those who dare to try to cross it. And at home, freedom of speech, and of thought, is still a mirage.
In six months of interviews in South Korea and Thailand, The Washington Post talked with more than 25 North Koreans from different walks of life who lived in Kim Jong Un’s North Korea and managed to escape from it. In barbecue restaurants, cramped apartments and hotel rooms, these refugees provided the fullest account to date of daily life inside North Korea and how it has changed, and how it hasn’t, since Kim took over from his father, Kim Jong Il, at the end of 2011. Many are from the northern parts of the country that border China — the part of North Korea where life is toughest, and where knowledge about the outside world just across the river is most widespread — and are from the relatively small segment of the population that is prepared to take the risks involved in trying to escape. [Washington Post]
You can read the rest at the link, but a major theme from the interviews is that the market economy is providing for the daily needs of people and not the regime. Also people are leaving North Korea now not because of hunger but of disillusionment brought on by the regime’s activities and information from the outside world. I look at this as validation of why an aggressive information war should be fought within North Korea to cause further disillusionment with the regime.