Kim has used the term "global trends" during recent official visits to an airport, a cancer research center and a sock factory, which some analysts say could be a signal to upgrade and even open up the nation's economy, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Sunday.
Experts on North Korea told Yonhap that Kim, who was educated in Switzerland, likely sees a need to loosen the country's traditional ideology of self-reliance, which may or may not sit well with the ruling elite.
"Kim Jong Un, who has experience in the international community, appears to be showing his willingness to catch up with global trends," said Chang Yong-seok of Seoul National University. "This kind of movement is mainly limited to the science and technology sector, but any widening of contacts between North Korea and the international community might have an adverse impact on the North's overall systems."
Nevertheless, Kim, who succeeded his late father Kim Jong Il in December, has seemingly been making it a point to tell everyone from factory workers to ranking party officials about the need to pay closer attention to the rest of the world.