Pyongyang’s efforts to develop economy deserve applause
Published: Aug 19, 2018 09:38 PM

According to the Korean Central News Agency Friday, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspected the construction site of the Wonsan-Kalma coastal tourist area, offering instructions for what he hopes will be a sign of North Korea's resilience under international sanctions. The recent few weeks have witnessed Kim make inspection tours of a string of industrial and agricultural factories in close connection with people's livelihoods, demonstrating the importance the country's leader attaches to economic development.

Kim proclaimed at the Third Plenum of the Seventh National Congress of the Korean Workers' Party on April 20 that the "new strategic line" for the ruling Workers' Party would be "socialist economic construction." The inspection tours have shown the North Korean people and the world that North Korea will unswervingly stick to the strategic line, mobilizing and concentrating all resources on economic construction.

The current détente on the Korean Peninsula has provided an important opportunity for North Korea to boost its economy and improve its livelihood.

As seen from Kim's inspection tours, North Korea is striving to minimize the impact of sanctions on people's lives by developing a production system that meets the basic needs of people's life. The growing attention North Korea has paid to economic development amid denuclearization efforts shows that the country is preparing for the future with a more proactive approach.

Promoting economic development is in line with the situation of North Korea. It also sends a diplomatic message. Pyongyang didn't respond to Washington's pressure to first abandon its nuclear program with an equally harsh policy. Instead Pyongyang showed the US what it is doing by dismantling part of its nuclear facilities and promoting its economy in a high-profile manner.

Denuclearization cannot be achieved overnight and has to be done step by step.

If economic reforms and opening-up can further be advanced in North Korea, the country will more easily integrate with the international community, which will not only be conducive to the process of denuclearization, but also offer opportunities for common economic development in Northeast Asia.

North Korea has great economic potential to be tapped. The country's mobilization capabilities, social cohesion, cheap labor force and geographical position in Northeast Asia all work in its favor. It can also learn from countries such as South Korea, Vietnam and China in terms of economic development.

Kim is determined to lead North Korea in developing the economy. South Korean President Moon Jae-in recently proposed the creation of a Northeast Asian railroad community to include North Korea, South Korea, China, Mongolia, Russia, Japan and the US by the end of this year. He was envisioning opportunity allied with North Korea's economic ambition. International society should protect the economic enthusiasm of North Korea and create a peaceful and favorable environment to encourage it to further reform and open. Neighboring countries should also offer necessary assistance.

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