TL;DR – And that would be another of our contributions to world peace.
The Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, was in Singapore to meet Donald Trump, the US President. While in Singapore, he toured around the Marina Bay area. On the tour, Kim was briefed on Singapore’s urban development plans. North Korea’s news network, KCNA reported that during the tour, Kim learned about the social and economic development of Singapore.
Kim would even take his what-is-now-known-as-his-first-selfie during that night tour in Singapore.
North Korea wants to learn from Singapore
Now that the summit is over, there are many analyses about the summit, its outcomes, and all the possible things that might follow from the summit. One such analysis is by Steve H. Hanke, an American applied economist at the Johns Hopkins University that was published in Forbes.
The analysis highlighted that one of the lead reports in North Korea about Kim’s time in Singapore was Kim’s tour around Singapore, and his desire to learn about economic development from the Singapore Strategy.
In his article, Hanke explained the elements of the Singapore Strategy that led to Singapore transform from a third world country to what Hanke called “one of the freest, most flexible, and prosperous economies in the world” in a single generation. Hanke ended his article by concluding that “the Supreme Leader is a bit cleverer than most western observers give him credit for” because of his desire to learn from Singapore.
Just like China 40 years ago
The last time a leader of a communist Asian country wanted to learn from Singapore, it led to the awakening of a dragon, catapulting the world’s most populous nation from being one of the poorest economies to becoming the world’s second largest economy. That country is China. That leader was Deng Xiaoping.
Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore in November 1978. He showed great interest in our social and economic development experience. One month later, Deng put in place his “open door” initiatives to allow foreign businesses to set up in China and other social and economic reforms. In 1992, during Deng’s Southern Tour to Chinese cities, he said:
“There is good social order in Singapore. They govern the place with discipline. We should draw from their experience and do even better than them.”
Singapore’s influence on Deng Xiaoping extended to foreign affairs as well. Mr Lee Kuan Yew recounted in his book From Third World To First what he told Deng during his 1978 visit to Singapore: “ASEAN (Association of South-east Asian Nations) governments regarded radio broadcasts from China appealing directly to their ethnic Chinese as dangerous subversion … Deng listened silently. He had never seen it in this light … He knew that I had spoken the truth. Abruptly, he asked: ‘What do you want me to do?’” Not long after, China stopped broadcasting to South-east Asia.”
And that would be good for the world
So, if Kim is really serious about learning and emulating Singapore’s strategy of social and economic development then it bodes well for the rest of the world. Because one of the foundations of Singapore’s strategy of social and economic development is to have win-win relationships with every country. International peace and stability is key to our social and economic development.
If Kim was really committed to developing the way Singapore did, one of the things he will have to do is to build win-win relationships with every country. He will have to ensure the peace and stability of the region and the world. And that would not only be good for North Korea, it will be good for the rest of the world, and certainly good for Singapore.
(Featured image via)