Apparently, the first order of business in post-Kim Jong-Il North Korea is to ban the use of foreign currency in markets, such as American dollar or Chinese renminbi, with a potential death penalty against those who violate the order. The order came down on Dec. 30 of last year. This move signifies that Kim Jong-Un is willing to keep trying to revert to a communistic, controlled economy, although the last attempt at reverting to a controlled economy -- the currency reform (apparently done at Kim Jong-Un's initiative also) -- was a miserable failure.
There is no reason to believe that this measure will have a different fate. Some North Korean watchers go so far as to say that this order can't be actually implemented, because it is practically impossible to stop the use of foreign currency in North Korean market. At the wholesale level, virtually all transactions are done in either dollars or yuan. If the regime does try to enforce this order, North Korean commerce (what little there is) would be completely paralyzed.
The more Kim Jong-Un tries to strengthen his grip over his country, the more quickly it will slip away. The total loss of control won't be long.
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.