North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in this undated image. Photo: KCNA via Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 in this undated image. Photo: KCNA via Reuters

Kim Jong Un is expected to make a state visit to Vietnam just before or after his second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi on February 27-28. If he does so, the 35-year-old ruler will become the first North Korean leader to tour the Southeast Asian country since 1964 when Kim Il Sung, the late founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Kim’s grandfather, visited the Vietnamese capital.

The mere fact that a North Korean leader didn’t visit Vietnam, a fellow communist nation, in more than half a century shows how isolated the Hermit Kingdom is internationally. By contrast, though it remains an authoritarian one-party state, Vietnam is now an internationally accepted player, with good and strong ties with various countries and international institutions. This is one of the many key areas that Kim can or should learn from his communist comrades in Hanoi.

In remarks in Vietnam last July, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed out that “except for relations with a handful of communist nations, Vietnam [in the early 1980s] was isolated from the world.”

Indeed, until the late 1980s, the nation was by and large isolated on the international stage, and this was due to its intervention in Cambodia and its hostilities with other countries, including the United States. Its withdrawal from Cambodia in 1989 dramatically improved its international reputation, position and relations.

In 1994, the US lifted its embargo on Vietnam and a year later normalized ties with its former war enemy. Other countries, including Vietnam’s neighbors, likewise established of re-established ties with Hanoi in the early 1990s. The country also joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 1995, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 1998 and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2007.

What’s notable is that, with its policy of diversifying and multilateralizing its external relations, Vietnam has managed to maintain good ties with almost all countries – democratic and non-democratic alike. What’s more, it has succeeded in retaining its independence and relevance in a crucial region, where major powers, notably the US and China, fiercely compete for geopolitical influence and predominance.

What’s notable is that, with its policy of diversifying and multilateralizing its external relations, Vietnam has managed to maintain good ties with almost all countries – democratic and non-democratic alike

Though it may boast that it has nuclear power, North Korea relies heavily on China economically, politically and diplomatically. The fact that Kim Jong Un had to travel to China four times to seek advice and guidance from Beijing before his nuclear talks with South Korea and the US is a testimony to such an unhealthy over-dependence.

Yet while Hanoi’s 1989 withdrawal of its troops from Cambodia was a defining factor, its shift in foreign policy began in 1986 when at its sixth national congress, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) embarked on doi moi – a renovation policy aimed at reforming the country’s then ruinous economy and opening up the country to the outside world.

North Korea’s aggression toward the US and its neighbors, such as South Korea and Japan, is the main reason behind its current isolation and sanctions. To come out of all this and become an acceptable state, the reclusive, regressive and aggressive state has no choice but to shift focus from nuclear enhancement to economic development.

As illustrated by Vietnam’s experience, such a strategic shift is, in many respects, feasible and advisable.

Politically, the ruling CPV’s primary concern was – and still is – its survival and security. By deciding to pursue doi moi at a time when communist regimes in the Soviet Union and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe were faced with upheaval and collapse, the CPV not only secured its survival but also strengthened its legitimacy.

Economic development remains one – if not the most – important source of the one-party regime’s legitimacy. Without remarkable economic growth, which is the third largest in Asia (after China and India) over the past decades, the Vietnamese would now have been faced with hardship and, consequently, probably revolted against the regime. Yet, though there is always some discontent and dissent among the public toward certain domestic and foreign policies or the overall direction of their country, the Vietnamese people seem quite pleased with their living standards. In any case, the 93-million-people country is now in a much better shape than it was about three decades ago.

Internationally, the communist regime is also accepted. In 2015, Nguyen Phu Trong, who now doubles as state president, became the first CPV chief to travel to the White House, and during that historic trip, the two former arch-enemies issued a Joint Vision Statement, in which they pledged to respect “each other’s political systems, independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity.”

In his remarks in Hanoi last year, Pompeo rightly recalled: “The leaders of Vietnam realized their country could reform, it could open up and build relationships, without threatening the country’s sovereignty, its independence, and its form of government,” adding: “One key to Vietnam’s enormous rise over the past few decades was a new engagement with the [US].”

After praising Vietnam’s communist leaders, the US top diplomat directly urged Kim Jong Un to replicate Vietnam’s path in overcoming past hostilities with the US and achieving “the once-unimaginable prosperity and partnership [the US has] with Vietnam today.”

When Pompeo made such an appeal, he met with some reservations. Some suggested that the country that North Korea should follow is its southern neighbor, not Vietnam, because “far more than Vietnam, the South has turned into a powerhouse built on free enterprise.” By contrast, some others were less pessimistic, arguing that the totalitarian country “would find Vietnam’s road to modernization hard going.”

It’s true that the ideal model for North Korea to imitate is the South or other democratic and advanced countries, not Vietnam, because the latter still lags far behind many of its regional peers in several important areas. However, the prospect of the hereditary and dictatorial regime in Pyongyang taking radical steps to liberalize the country both economically and politically is inconceivable.

It’s also true that, in numerous respects, North Korea of 2019 is different from Vietnam of the 1980s. That said, there are also many relevant parallels between the current North Korea and the Vietnam of that period, and the latter could certainly provide the former with valuable experience should it wish to come out of isolation, sanctions and destitution.

Of the countries that may offer North Korea some experience in terms of economic development, political stability and foreign policy, Vietnam is probably the most suitable and realistic one.

If Kim Jong Un followed the CPV’s path, the US and other countries would certainly welcome it. This is simply because the young tyrant won’t abandon his nuclear weapons unless and until he realizes that there is a (better) alternative for him to secure his regime’s survival, develop his country, diversify its relations and maintain its independence. Vietnam offers such an alternative.

That Kim agreed to meet with Trump in Hanoi for crucial talks, whose outcome could radically determine his fate and dynasty as well as the future of his 25.5-million-people country, suggests that he may emulate Vietnam’s model.

There are other signs that he is willing to lead his country in that direction. In December, DPRK Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho made a four-day trip to Vietnam, which South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency described as a fact-finding mission to learn about Hanoi’s doi moi.

During his recent three-day trip to Pyongyang, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said his country “is ready to share its experience in national construction, socio-economic development and international integration with the DPRK.”

After all, as Kim may recognize, it is economic development and good ties with the outside world – rather than nukes and aggression – that guarantee the survival of an authoritarian, one-party or one-man-rule regime. The stability of the communist regime in Hanoi contrasted with the tragedy of both Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 2003 and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 may help him reach a conclusion.

Join the Conversation


  1. Along with almost everything which seems to be developing within this subject matter, many of your points of view are quite stimulating. Even so, I beg your pardon, but I do not give credence to your whole strategy, all be it exhilarating none the less. It looks to everybody that your remarks are not totally validated and in reality you are generally yourself not really wholly confident of your assertion. In any event I did appreciate examining it.

  2. Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t
    appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless,
    just wanted to say wonderful blog!

  3. I’m not sure exactly why but this blog is loading extremely slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  4. Hello, constantly i used to check website posts here in the early hours in the
    daylight, as i like to learn more and more.

  5. whoah this blog is excellent i like studying your posts. Keep up the good work! You understand, lots of individuals are looking round for this info, you can help them greatly.

  6. I’ve been exploring for a bit for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this sort of house .
    Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this web site.
    Reading this info So i’m glad to exhibit that I’ve a very just
    right uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed.
    I so much no doubt will make certain to do not overlook this website and give it
    a glance on a continuing basis.

  7. Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; we have created some nice procedures and we are looking to trade strategies with others, why not shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  8. I think this is among the most significant info for me.

    And i am glad reading your article. But want
    to remark on few general things, The web site style is perfect,
    the articles is really excellent : D. Good job,

  9. Hi, Neat post. There is an issue along with your
    site in web explorer, might check this? IE still is the marketplace chief and a big portion of other people will
    omit your fantastic writing due to this problem.

  10. Hello my friend! I wish to say that this article is awesome, nice
    written and come with approximately all vital infos. I would like to peer extra posts like this .

  11. Does your site have a contact page? I’m having problems locating
    it but, I’d like to shoot you an e-mail.
    I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing.
    Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it grow over time.

  12. This is really fascinating, You are an excessively skilled blogger.

    I’ve joined your feed and look forward to in the hunt for more of your excellent post.
    Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks

  13. hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve
    definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however
    expertise some technical issues using this site, as
    I experienced to reload the website a lot of times previous
    to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?

    Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times
    will very frequently affect your placement in google and could damage
    your high quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.

    Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of
    your respective interesting content. Ensure that you update this again very soon.

  14. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author.
    I will make certain to bookmark your blog and will come back sometime soon. I want to encourage you to
    ultimately continue your great work, have a nice holiday weekend!

  15. I’m really loving the theme/design of your site.
    Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility problems?
    A number of my blog visitors have complained about my site not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari.
    Do you have any advice to help fix this issue?

  16. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site thus i
    came to “return the favor”.I am attempting to
    find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  17. Yesterday, while I was at work, my sister stole my iphone
    and tested to see if it can survive a 40 foot drop, just so she
    can be a youtube sensation. My iPad is now destroyed and she has
    83 views. I know this is totally off topic but I had to share
    it with someone!

  18. In the grand scheme of things you’ll secure an A+ with regard to hard work. Where you misplaced everybody was in the particulars. You know, people say, details make or break the argument.. And that could not be more true here. Having said that, allow me inform you exactly what did work. Your article (parts of it) is quite convincing which is possibly the reason why I am making the effort to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, although I can certainly notice the leaps in reasoning you come up with, I am not really certain of exactly how you appear to connect the ideas that make your final result. For right now I shall yield to your issue but hope in the near future you actually link the dots better.

  19. I think other site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and magnificent user friendly style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  20. Have you ever considered publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?
    I have a blog centered on the same subjects you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would
    value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  21. Si tiene cualquier tipo de problema con su electrodoméstico, tan solo llámenos, nuestros operadores y nuestros técnicos se encargarán de todo para que usted no pierda su valioso tiempo en preocupaciones, porque nosotros nos preocupamos por usted, porque nosotros le arreglamos su electrodoméstico de inmediato, porque nosotros no cobramos desplazamiento, porque nosotros pensamos en cada cliente que solicita nuestro servicio tecnico de frigorificos.

  22. Estimado cliente:”SEARS SERVICE” no tiene ninguna vinculación, ni asume ninguna responsabilidad sobre otros servicio técnico” que han copiado literalmente el 95 de nuestros títulos y textos demostrando falta de originalidad y profesionalismo en su trabajo. Este número también te servirá para solicitar la reparación de un técnico Bosch en caso de avería, trámite que puedes realizar si lo prefieres de forma online. Antes de llamar recuerda que debes disponer del número de serie y de modelo del producto sobre el cual deseas realizar la consulta solicitar la reparación.

  23. Servicio técnico de lavadoras Electrodoméstico, servicio técnico de vitrocerámica Electrodoméstico, servicio técnico de secadoras Electrodoméstico, servicio técnico de Electrodoméstico neveras, técnicos especializados para reparar su electrodoméstico.Reparación de Neveras en Las Palmas, Reparación de Secadoras en Las Palmas, Reparación de Termo Electrico en Las Palmas, Reparación de Horno en Las Palmas, Reparación de Vitrocerámica en Las Palmas.

  24. Buena prueba de ellos, son las diferencias de material empleado: mientras en los electrodomésticos antiguos existe mayor empleo de piezas metálicas de acero inoxidable, en los electrodomésticos actuales predominan las plásticas, lo que influye en la durabilidad de los mismos. Reparación de consolas y dispositivos móviles, equipos de sonido, refrigerador de vinos, trituradoras, televisores antiguos, etcétera. Para darte un servicio más personalizado, QDQ utiliza cookies propias y de terceros.

  25. Comprobara que con nuestro servicio de Alquiler de turismos en Alicante Aeropuerto se evitara tener que buscar, comparar precios y condiciones y contactar con las distintas empresas Rent-a-car pues nosotros efectuamos ese trabajo por usted. Todos los alquileres de coches Alicante: estacion de ferrocarril, centro de la ciudad aeropuerto, para reservar un coche al mejor costo solo necesita empezar una busca de alquiler de coches en Alicante. Jetcost, buscador de vehiculos encuentra la mejor tarifa de alquiler de vehiculos Alicante.

  26. Además de la intervención en gran número de aparatos electrodomésticos, desde nuestro SAT en Lugo se propone la reparación de lavavajillas. La dureza del agua y su contenido en cal deben ser tenidos en cuenta para realizar las programaciones más eficaces y así evitar averías innecesarias. Le proporcionamos en Lugo un Servicio Técnico especializado, entre otras tareas, en reparación de frigoríficos.

  27. Este periodo comenzará a contar desde la fecha de entrega del equipo al cliente y tendrá validez únicamente sobre la parte reparada y siempre y cuando no haya sido manipulado por terceros. Claro nos duele cuando uno va a una acción militar y uno sabe que el que esta allá también es hermano de uno, también es un soldado que tiene sus necesidades y que también es gente del pueblo, pero durante más de cuarenta años hemos tratado de buscar la manera de que esas contradicciones no las resolvamos en el campo de batalla, porque es lo más doloroso.

  28. Nuestro servicio técnico de lavadoras, servicio técnico de lavavajillas, servicio técnico de cocinas y hornos, servicio tecnico de termos, están disponibles de lunes a viernes de 9:00 a 19:00 h y sábado de 9.00 a 14:00 h en la reparacion de electrodomesticos. En nuestra organizacion contamos con los mejores tecnicos de reparacion de electrodomesticos en Madrid y localidades.

  29. Entre Satmex e Hispasat cual ofrece mejor servicio para suramerica, Es decir cuale es menos congestinado a la hora de navegar con un mismo nivel de contencion y velocidad contratada. Soy tecnico en la instalacion de antenas satelitales bidireccionales y unidireccionales, he trabajado en el sistema de television sky, en el programa enciclomedia y en la red edusat y quisiera saber si alguna empresa pudiera contratar mis servicios. La política estándar de cookies para este sitio web consiste en permitir todas las cookies.

  30. Todos estos materiales se someten a este proceso por medio de decoletaje de precisión. La maquína M2 permite hacer las mediciones tanto de pequeñas piezas torneadas como de grandes ejes que miden 600×140 mm y tiene una capacidad de cargo de 625×240 mm. El nombre de Ingenio del Decoletaje fue por la exclamación constante de los clientes.

Leave a comment