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Capitalism works for communist Vietnam. Why not North Korea?

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As everybody knows, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has a lot to learn from the capitalist success of nearby communist countries. No example is better than that of China, whose leaders have urged him to walk the capitalist road to success. His late father, Kim Jong-il, was photographed during trips to China traipsing around one project or another as living evidence that communism and capitalism could survive together, to everyone’s benefit, at no risk to his grip on power.

Now Kim Jong-un has his own chance to witness capitalism in action in a communist country. When he gets to Hanoi to see his good friend Donald Trump for their summit at the end of the month, his motorcade will take him past hotels and shops bearing capitalist names, glitzy reminders of the riches that await him if he just behaves and stops clinging to his nuclear weapons and missiles.

Kim’s Vietnamese hosts can also assure him that a few capitalist enterprises won’t deprive him of his communist credentials, much less the trappings of a dictatorship. “Look,” they can tell him, “we arrest troublemakers all the time, give them a show trial and send them away to jail for years for the crime of criticising us, doubting the munificence of communist rule.” What better evidence could........

© South China Morning Post