U.S. President Donald Trump may have promised that North Korea will become “very rich” on the back of American investment if Pyongyang ditches nuclear weapons but economists and academics who have studied the isolated country say it is China not the U.S. that will be the engine of any transformation.
The nearest template would not be based on American-style capitalism, but China’s state-controlled market economy first championed by Deng Xiaoping, who became China’s leader in 1978, these experts said. China was just coming out of the turmoil of the 27-year reign of Mao Zedong, a period during which capitalism was banned and private businesses and property were seized by the state and placed under collective ownership.
Deng introduced wrenching reforms that are widely regarded as creating the foundations of China’s economic miracle in the past 40 years. The changes were massive, the growth phenomenal, but most importantly the Chinese Communist Party has achieved all of this while not only retaining power but increasing its control over the country.
And in the run up to the unprecedented summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday in Singapore, it has been China that Pyongyang has been increasingly turning to. [Continue reading…]