SEOUL : North Korea, which suffers from poverty and isolation partly due to international sanctions imposed against the country for its nuclear and missile tests, has proclaimed a shift in national focus from nuclear weapons development to economic development.

''North Korea has done a lot of ''case studies'' on economic development plans that brought rapid growth to other countries. Vietnam is one of them.

Its biggest concern is how to open its doors with Kim's regime remaining intact. In other words, how to control the people while allowing them to set up private businesses,'' Kim Young-hui a North Korean defector and senior research fellow at the state-run Korea Development Bank, told the The Korea Herald.

Pyongyang's willingness to borrow economic development ideas from Hanoi is no secret. During the  inter-Korean summit in April last year, Chairman Kim reportedly expressed interest in simulating the reform model to South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

North Korean Foreign Minister  Ri Yong-no visited Hanoi at the end of November, 2018 to study the Doi Moi Policy., an economic reform policy Vietnam adopted in 1986 after realising its socialist model was about to collapse.

The inflation rate had skyrocket to 700 per cent plus due to US-led trade embargoes as well as poor access to reconstruction aid after prolonged wars with Cambodia and the United States.

With the Doi Moi Policy in place, Vietnam attracted an influx of multinational companies and foreign investment, and it has seen economic growth of 6pc to 7pc per year over the past half a decade.Before 1988, there were no private enterprises operating in Vietnam.

Global consulting firm Fitch Solutions said in a recent report that Vietnam offers North Korea  ''the most realistic path'' for the massive and successful transformation of a communist one party state with hostile relations towards the United States  into  ''a  politically stable, rapidly growing economy with good relations with most of its neighbours.''

Key to Vietnam's successful overhaul was the normalization of relations with the United States in 1995 after 20 years of severed ties, as well as a trade agreement between the two countries in 2001.  which led to a significant pickup in exports to the United States and foreign direct investment to Vietnam.

 ''Ultimately North Korea will pursue closer relations with the United States in order to attract international financial aid,'' Kim at the KDB said.

The United States has been sending messages to to the North Korean leader, indicating he could replicate the Doi Moi success by improving relations with the United States.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on North Korea and Vietnam continues. The World students Society thanks author and researcher Park Han-na.


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