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Role models for North Korea

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By Donald Kirk

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has compounded the debacle of his weekend in Pyongyang by a plea that North Korea partake of the same "once unimaginable prosperity and partnership we have with Vietnam today."

Pompeo, on a tour that took him from Pyongyang to Tokyo to Hanoi to Kabul and Abu Dhabi before winding up with President Trump at the NATO summit in Brussels, overlooked history.

Vietnam emerged as a united country after Communist forces from "North" Vietnam defeated the U.S.-backed "South" Vietnam regime in April 1975. Was he suggesting that maybe North Korea could emerge as a great country if the North Koreans overran South Korea and united Korea under Kim dynasty rule?

Obviously not, but the reference to U.S. ties to the Communist government in Hanoi was more than a little disturbing to those who lived through the terrible Vietnam War. Vietnam, under Communist rule, did not reform economically for more than a decade after the victory of the forces from the North.

Under Communist rule, Vietnam is still repressive, closed to political opposition or free-thinking criticism while free enterprise, including foreign investment,........

© The Korea Times