During the first summit between North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in in April 2018, Kim mentioned that he preferred the “Vietnam model” of economic development to that of China. This is because the North wants to maintain a good relationship with the United States in order to attract Western investment.

North Korea paid close attention to the “Vietnam model” again in 2018 when then-North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho visited Hanoi. Commentaries on the eve of the 2019 Hanoi summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump raised the profile of the “Vietnam model” significantly, as the Trump administration wanted North Korea to be the next Vietnam.

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