Mike Pompeo advises North Korea to follow Vietnam’s path to prosperity
Hanoi, July 9: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday, July 8, urged North Korea to follow the path taken by Vietnam to achieve prosperity.
According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, Pompeo, who was speaking at a business event in the capital of Vietnam where he went after completing a two-day trip to North Korea, said the US believed that North Korea could also achieve the level of prosperity that Vietnam has achieved today.
Vietnam, like the Korean Peninsula, was another zone of intense Cold War rivalry and was also bifurcated in the mid-1950s till its reunification in the mid-1970s. Once under strict communist rule and isolation, Vietnam took the path towards liberalisation since the mid-1980s and is known to be one of the fastest developing countries in the world today.
"In light of the once-unimaginable prosperity and partnership we have with Vietnam today, I have a message for Chairman Kim Jong-un: President Trump believes your country can replicate this path," Pompeo was quoted as saying by Yonhap. He said if North Korea could seize the moment, it could achieve a miracle as well.
Pompeo was in North Korea to discuss with its top officials the details of the agreement that was reached between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12.
Washington has offered economic incentives to North Korea repeatedly to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme. At the summit in Singapore, Kim reiterated Pyongyang's commitment towards "complete" denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for "security guarantees" from the US.
However, North Korea expressed its discontent once Pompeo left Pyongyang, saying the latter presented "unilateral and gangster-like" demand for an "irreversible" denuclearisation.
Speaking about Vietnam's success story, Pompeo said one key reason behind the Southeast Asian nation's "enormous rise" over the past few decades has been its engagement with the US. He said the step of returning the remains of American service members lost in Vietnam led to the beginning of great ties between the two countries.
There was also speculation that Pompeo would bring back remains of some American soldiers who were killed in the 1950-53 Korean War - which was also a part of the Trump-Kim summit, Yonhap added.
However, it didn't happen so eventually and Pompeo didn't even get to meet Kim this time, the report added.
Pompeo had made two trips to North Korea earlier this year, once as the chief of the CIA, to meet Kim and set the stage for the Trump-Kim summit. During his last visit in May, he also returned with three Americans who were detained by North Korea.