Kim the reformer

Jasper Becker gets carried away ("The depths of evil", 4 September). He argues that "change is more unlikely than ever" under Kim Jong-il and that "little has changed" since the late 1990s. This is plain wrong. The North Korean regime is not one to admire, but though Kim may be a tyrant, he is not stupid. Since he took power in 1998 he has been driving economic reform despite internal opposition, even if it is only to guarantee his survival.

Becker sits in the "regime change" camp. Others support a "changing regime" - which is why, for the third year running, Pyongyang will host an EU workshop on economic reform in November.

Glyn Ford MEP
Cinderford, Gloucestershire

This article first appeared in the 18 September 2006 issue of the New Statesman, Shopping: How it became our national disease