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Vietnamese-style reforms might work for North Korea

Video Credit: Reuters Studio - Duration: 02:30s - Published < > Embed
Vietnamese-style reforms might work for North Korea

Vietnamese-style reforms might work for North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump has confirmed that he will be meeting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later this month in Vietnam, a country that's being seen by many as a potential model for the North.

As Reuters' James Pearson reports, Vietnamese-style reforms could work for North Korea, but it would come at a cost for its powerful leader.

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Vietnamese-style reforms might work for North Korea

A lonely statue of Lenin stands in the centre of Hanoi.

With Trump on Tuesday (February 5) confirming a second summit with Kim Jong Un... (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP SAYING: "Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27th and 28th in Vietnam." Vietnam has already been busy preparing for the big day.

But this park is quiet, save for a few young skateboarders.

It was once a site to pay tribute Lenin, the communist revolutionary - though that significance seems to have become lost.

(SOUNDBITE)(Vietnamese) JAZZ PIANIST, NHAT HUY LE, 27, SAYING: "This is a street sport from the West.

The fact that I am doing it in front of the statue of Lenin is really something.

It's fun!" This might be what North Korea's future could look like.

As the summit looms closer, many are touting Vietnam's communist reforms as a model for the North.

Reuters James Pearson says it's possible.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS VIETNAM SENIOR CORRESPONDENT JAMES PEARSON SAYING: "The counter-reforms that Vietnam went through could work in North Korea.

The important difference is that however there are a lot of political reforms in Vietnam too.

We're standing here in the middle of Lenin Park in the middle of Hanoi and Lenin is still one of the main features of the ruling communist party's governing ideology.

However, as you can see, he doesn't really feature much in peoples' everyday lives.

These kinds of political changes that came along with Vietnamese economic reforms are quite important to pay attention to if someone like North Korea wants to open up and reform in the same way.

Since launching its reforms in 1986, Vietnam has seen its per capita GDP soar almost five-fold and its kept the ruling Communist Party firmly in power too.

But political changes have also allowed for a lot more individual freedoms. That means in order to have Vietnamese-style reforms, Kim Jong Un, who reigns as a living God in North Korea, would have to give up a lot of power.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS VIETNAM SENIOR CORRESPONDENT JAMES PEARSON SAYING: "We know that Kim Jong Un and the North Koreans are interested in some of Vietnam's larger state-owned enterprises, especially ones that have large monopolies on state commodities.

What's going to be really interesting though if he is serious about reforms and he is serious about following the Vietnamese model is - is he going to go to a market, is he going to hold up an apple and ask how much it costs?

Those are the kinds of things that could be a far more serious sign of reform for them.

The question is - can you reform and have a strong man at the top at the same time." Kim Jong Un's already started taking steps towards economic reforms, at least.

Under his rule, North Korea's seen unprecedented economic development, but experts say there are still key limitations set by the regime's leader.




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