September 26, 2023

North Korea as the next Vietnam? It’s unlikely

"Reform and opening-up" could be highly damaging to political stability

Chairman Kim, as Mike Pompeo knows him, is reported to have suggested that North Korea could become the next Vietnam – reforming and opening its economy to foreign investment.

Some editorializing presents this as a realistic and genuinely enticing prospect for international and South Korean investors and companies, and some statistics give this idea the semblance of credibility. But let’s get real: North Korea has serious political and economic issues that will make an opening and real reform very difficult.