By Publisher Lee Kyung-sik with Reporter Sua Kim
North Korea and the United States are obviously deadlocked in their negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the Korean peninsula problems. Denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is the aim, but Chairman Kim Jong Un seems to be procrastinating while President Donald Trump wants a speedy solution to the issue. President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea (south) is working hard to bring the two sides closer together—which does not seem to be easy at this time.
At this juncture, Editorial Writer Joo Sung-ha of leading Korean-language daily, Dong-A Ilbo came up with a seemingly noble idea which both Trump and Kim can use with President Moon Jae-in working between them as a good arbitrator. Joo suggested that Trump and Kim can learn from Singapore and Shenzhen District of China.
President Trump is obviously having a hard time trying to figure out how to properly deal with Chairman Kim of N. Korea and so seems to be Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the United States. And President Moon Jae-in, for that matter, does not seem to know how to deal with Chairman Kim--given the seemingly successful contacts he has had with him--leading to improvement of relations between the US and N. Korea as well as between the two Koreas. This is the view mainly shared by the conservatively oriented people and many of the middle-of-the-roaders in the South Korea.
What is Chairman Kim really up to? What does he really have in mind--seemingly ‘coming all out’ in improving relations with the US, the ROK and the outside world?
In the opinion of many people in Korea, especially the conservatives, Chairman Kim will never give up his nuclear weapons nor their delivery means which he may think soon can hit targets in the US mainland if needed--to speak nothing of those in the ROK, Guam and other targets nearer. Kim may destroy all the development and production facilities to show the world that he means peace, but he will still have nearly one hundred completed nuclear bombs and their delivery means.
This is what is making difficult the goings-on between Trump and Kim--and also to Moon who is obviously ‘naively’ going between the two.
However, there also are different views in Korea. Trump is no child, and he will never be had by Kim--no matter how hard Kim may try to seek an upper-hand over him.
Moreover, the US, aknowledgedly, has ‘Number One’ intelligence sources in the world and they ‘know’ everything as to what’s going on in NK and what Kim and his lieutenants are really up to.
At this juncture, an article appeared in a leading Korean-language daily, Dong-A Ilbo, on July 11, 2018, which treated the visit of Pompeo to Pyongyang on July 6-7, 2018, when he was shunned by Chairman Kim Jong Un despite the obvious agreements made between the two sides. The article offers a good measure of glymphs into what might be expected in the near future concerning the goings on between the US and NK--and, for that matter, the ROK.
Joo said, “Viet Nam is a role model for North Korea as was mentioned by Pompeo.”
Instead, he offered Singapore and Shenzhen of China for Chairman Kim to follow instead of Hanoi. Here are the excerpts:
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo returned to the US from Pyongyang empty-handed. He gives the impression that he did not learn North Korea enough.
We get the impression that the US only has in mind the trophy but that she does not seem to fully understand the mind of Chairman Kim who has put everything on the game table.
Chairman Kim might have thought, “Well, if we sign a peace treaty with the US and submit the list of our nuclear weapons, the US will agree to establishing a Pyongyang- mission in the Washington D.C. and if we let them (the US) inspect our nuclear weapons they will agree to establishing bilateral diplomatic relations and a guarantee of our government.”
On the contrary, the US wants the North to give up all the things (nuclear weapons) and then the US will fully compensate for them.
Pompeo said in Viet Nam on July 8 to this effect: “If Chairman Kim agrees with us, North Korea will get diplomatic normalization with the US and the North can tread the path of Viet Nam who has achieved prosperity through cooperation with the US.”
Viet Nam won the trust of the US by sending the remains of the US soldiers, established diplomatic relations with the US, won the removal of various restrictions and entry into various international organizations. This is the typical view of the US.
However, the situation in the case of Chairman Kim of North Korea is entirely different. Viet Nam pursued an open-door policy for over 30 years, but the per-capita GNI of the country is still a little over US$2,000 ranking 130th in the world. Will this be viewed as a role model of ‘miracles of Viet Nam’ in the eyes of Chairman Kim?
Furthermore, there were four times of change of leadership at the Community Party in Viet Nam since the adoption of the Doi Moi open-door policy in 1986. After serious struggles between the conservatives and reformists, Viet Nam adopted the reform and open-door policy.
This cannot happen in North Korea where the leader ‘cannot be wrong’ and therefore cannot assume any responsibility. The Viet Nam model cannot be accepted or applied to North Korea.
Pompeo said North Korea can follow the suit of Viet Nam. It shows how ignorant the US is concerning North Korea. It also shows how the US is uninterested in learning North Korea.
The US has made a lot of mistakes in the Middle East due to lack of understanding or knowledge of the actual situation of the region. One is afraid that the US may be making the same mistakes on North Korea.
At this juncture, it might be a good idea if the US would suggest to NK to learn from Singapore where Prime Minister Lee Kuan-yew brought prosperity to Singapore while ruling the country for 26 years. Kim would have more attentively listened to the US with such a suggestion. His eldest son, Lee Hsien-Loong, continued to lead Singapore as her prime minister with his father as ‘Father of the Nation’ in the name of a ‘Senior Minister.’
Singapore, like N. Korea, is surrounded by big countries and has at all times been exposed to the danger of security. However, the Lee Family succeeded in leading the country in a one-party rule. Too, in Singapore, the state managed the business world, but it brought the Singapore economy to rank among the highest in the world.
To Chairman Kim, Singapore has an incomparably larger measure of things to learn from compared with Viet Nam.
In fact, there are many more countries from whom Chairman Kim can learn.
Shenzhen of China is a good example. Lee Kuan-Yew used to say, “Shenzhen offers a good future for China.”
China achieved a Chinese-style market economy development in Shenzhen and the area became the locomotive of economic development and growth of China.
North Korea has many cities which can become a ‘Shenzhen.’ Among them are the Kaesong City, Sinuiju City, and the Nasun City.
Chairman Kim can follow the model of former Chinese leader, Deng Xiaoping, or even the model of the late President Park Chung-hee of South Korea.