“North Korea can still survive under sanctions, especially if China helps it,” said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul. “But as long as sanctions are there, Kim Jong-un can never deliver the kind of rapid economic growth he has promised for his people.”…

Indeed, the North Korean economy has been growing as much as 1 to 5 percent annually under Mr. Kim’s rule, because of a limited embrace of market forces by his government and, until late last year, big loopholes in the multiple rounds of sanctions adopted by the United Nations Security Council.

Still, his apparent willingness to continue diplomatic efforts does suggest that Mr. Kim, 34, may be under pressure to satisfy rising expectations in North Korea for economic gains and shake off the painful grip of sanctions.