Singapore’s Lessons for North Korean Economic Development

Credit to NKNews

Credit to NKNews

A month ago, we told our Korean partners that we would build a June 12 Singapore Center if the Singapore Summit goes well for the US and the DPRK, as a symbol of economic cooperation, development and entrepreneurship. We hope the meeting between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un is successful today, for both sides. We hope we get to fulfill that promise.

Yesterday was an exciting moment for us. We watched as Chairman Kim took the same route around Marina Bay we have brought over 100 Koreans on in Singapore to learn about Singapore’s development. Bringing them to Singapore is not just about content (for that, we have the volunteer-led in-country workshops), it’s an immersive experience that says “if you take the right policies today, you will be a successful, prosperous Asian State tomorrow.” Anna Fifield at Washington Post has the roundup here and quotes us.

When Singapore was approached by the United States as a venue for the Summit, we believe along with other reasons, Secretary Pompeo wanted to pick a neutral successful Asian city where he could say “if you make the right choices on June 12, we can be partners in making your country a similarly prosperous place.” If that was his intentions, Chairman Kim seemed to have agreed with today’s Rodong Sinmun. A full front page spread showcasing the Marina Bay skyline, positive comments by the Chairman and KCNA reporting that Chairman Kim said “[DPRK] is going to learn a lot from the good knowledge and experience in Singapore in various fields in the future.” The public message to his people is clear. Chairman Kim is promising that economic development will happen. He will have to deliver it.

If this was a well-coordinated sales pitch between Singapore and the United States, we are glad Singapore could play a part. And we are glad the Koreans liked it, and we look forward to discussions with our partners post-Summit later this month.

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