A lieutenant of the late Kim Jong-il who defected to South Korea after years of senior positions in the regime has said Kim's son will open up the isolated state to become more of a market-style export economy.
Choi Se-woong, a banker and former number two in North Korea's Reunification Development Bank , is the closest to the regime so far to have suggested the new leader Kim Jong-un will liberalise the country.
Mr Choi's words will be seized upon by financiers hoping North Korea could become a lucrative new investment target. Fund manager Mark Mobius of Templeton Emerging Markets, an expert in the region, last week predicted the north would adopt Chinese-style deregulation.
Mr Choi told Bloomberg: "It's better for North Korea to have Kim Jong-un as leader than anyone else. He will start a market economy but it will be different from China, South Korea or any other capitalist country."