Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Singapore’s Opening-up Serves as a Model for North Korea to Modernize Its Economy
By Hu Weijia
Global Times
2018/6/12 22:23:40

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been quoted as saying that he was impressed by Singapore's economic development and will learn from the country, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing North Korea's official KCNA news agency. Kim's words sparked curiosity over his country's economic development plan in the wake of the landmark summit with US President Donald Trump.

It's a mistake to play down Singapore's state-driven development model.

On Monday, Kim went on an evening tour of some of the city-state's landmarks. He took in the beautiful night view of the city, which is the result of a successful economic policy that has made Singapore a sound destination for foreign investment. At its initial stage of development, Singapore's aggressive pursuit of overseas investment as a pillar of its economic strategy enabled the country to realize modernization.

Singapore has been seen by many developing countries as a role model for economic development.

When China's former leader Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore in 1978, China was a relatively closed economy, just like today's North Korea. As Deng launched China on its journey of reform and opening-up, the Singapore model played a vital role in China's drive to seek foreign capital and industrialization. The most important lesson China learned from Singapore is the opening-up policy.

Gradually opening up its economy is the best choice for North Korea after the country gives priority to economic development.

It doesn't matter if North Korea makes slow, patient progress in opening up its economy step-by-step, but reform and opening-up is the only way forward.

Export-led development strategies have been the dominant paradigm for economic growth throughout East and Southeast Asia. Only North Korea is today running a relatively closed economy.

If Pyongyang can adopt an opening-up policy following the Singapore model, the isolated country can soon integrate into the Asian industrial chain and achieve an economic take-off.

Besides Singapore, some other Asian countries can also provide useful reference points for North Korea to develop its economy.

For example, being an export-oriented economy, Vietnam's somewhat surprisingly fast growth owes a lot to its investment-friendly environment.

If North Korea wants to follow in the footsteps of other Asian countries to achieve economic success and reduce poverty, we believe Pyongyang will open up its economy to the outside world eventually.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

No comments: