February 16, 2019 | 05:10 pm PT

Vietnam growth model highly relevant for North Korea: US media

Vietnam growth model highly relevant for North Korea: US media
Vietnam’s reforms could be what North Korea needs. Photo by Shutterstock/Efired

Weighing in on the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit, several U.S. media outlets have highlighted the relevance of Vietnam's development model.

A report by The Atlantic said that when Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un meet in Vietnam on February 27-28, the North Korean leader will be able to see what awaits his country if he decides to denuclearize.

Vietnam today presents a vastly different image to the world compared to over 40 years ago, when the country stepped out of two long wars with France and the U.S. that had devastated its economy.

Vietnam now celebrates American culture: Apple’s iPhones are sought-after, Facebook widely used and cinemas packed whenever a Hollywood blockbuster is released.

By initiating economic reforms in 1986, Vietnam has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Last year, the country’s GDP grew by 7.08 percent, highest in a decade, and its trade surplus reached a record-high of $7.2 billion.

With the upcoming meeting in Hanoi, the White House appears to be trying to illustrate what is on offer if Kim cooperates: a country that fought a war against the U.S. but is now a fast-growing economy and a regional ally, The Atlantic said.

Meanwhile, news channel CNBC commented that Vietnam and China are two communist governments that North Korea has long studied, as these countries have integrated into the world economy by successfully transforming from a centrally managed economic model to a market economy.

Vietnam's gradual path to development appeals to Kim, ratings firm Fitch Solutions said in a January report. Hanoi has been open and maintains a "relationship-building" quality with the world that is likely to be "admired" by Pyongyang, the report said.

In a recent trip to North Korea, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said that Vietnam was willing to share its experience in national development and international integration.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho had visited Hanoi last year, reportedly to study Vietnam’s reforms, according to South Korean Yonhap News Agency.

Similar visits have been made before, including one in 2012 when a North Korean delegation visited the Vietnamese northern province of Thai Binh to study rural development.

Vietnam’s reforms could be what North Korea needs as the country has been willing to experiment with reforms under Kim Jong-un, CNBC quoted Bradley Babson, who serves on the advisory council of the Korea Economic Institute of America, as saying.

The lifting of sanctions, coupled with economic reforms and changes in national security policy and international relations, "could help put the North Korean economy on a path of stable growth and economic integration," Babson said.

Vietnam's GDP grew by 6.18 percent on average each year in the 2008-2018 period. Its per capita GDP reached almost $2,590 last year.