March 01, 2024
Analysis

Seven decades of friendship and envy: North Korea’s relations with Vietnam

Vietnam achieved what the Kim regime never could: national reunification and a booming economy

71 years after Pyongyang and Hanoi established diplomatic relations on Jan. 31, Kim Jong Un can't escape the fact that Vietnam has achieved what North Korea never could. Despite starting from similar circumstances, his comrades managed to reunite the fatherland and grow its economy. North Korea's outlook, in contrast, is rather bleak -- but its old friend seems ready to help when the time is right.

Unlike North Vietnam, North Korea failed to defeat their compatriots in the south by force. As a result, its leaders have not been able to open up their country too much or too rapidly, lest they risk their people becoming exposed to the outside world and question why they can’t enjoy the same quality of life as their ethnic brethren on the other side of the border.

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