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[Opinion] Head of the State of Vietnam

Posted June. 26, 2007 03:16,   


After the end of the Korean War, former Korea President Park Jeong-hee dispatched troops to Vietnam in 1965, which led North Korean leader Kim Il Sung to start to prepare for the reunification by communizing the South. Tokyo University Professor Emeritus Haruki Wada in his book, “The North Korea,” said, “At that time, North Korea’s greatest concern was how to communize the South.”

Ho Chi Minh won the Vietnam War in 1975, but things did not turn out as Kim Il Sung had expected. Right after the end of the war, Vietnam invaded Cambodia and pursued the military-first policy for a while. However, Vietnam introduced the “Doi Moi” (renovation) policy in 1986 to lay the groundwork for reforms. The country normalized diplomatic relations with Korea (1992), and the U.S. (1995), and joined the WTO in November 2006. “Doi Moi” has led to globalization.

Last year’s economic growth rate of Vietnam was 8.2 percent. This year’s foreign investment is about $20 billion, which is almost twice the amount of last year. Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Sinh Hung said in the World Economic Forum yesterday, “With our high growth rate, Vietnam is expected to become a semi-developed country by 2020.” The proportion of people living on less than $2 a day declined from 62 percent in 2001 to 36 percent in 2006. As French scholar Guy Sorman said, globalization is indeed the driving force to save the mass from poverty.

Vietnam President Nguyen Minh Triet returned from his historic 6-day visit to the U.S. on June 24. It was the first presidential visit to the U.S. since the Vietnam War. The two countries laid the foundation for signing an FTA. Vietnam was the first country to defeat the U.S., and it now tries to use the U.S. to achieve economic growth. North Korea is also one of few countries which have fought against the U.S. since the 2nd World War. However, North Korea is still criticizing “the U.S. imperialism” and demands a security guarantee from the U.S. by using its nuclear programs. Based on the exchange rate of the dollar in the black markets, the average monthly wage of North Korean people is about $1.

Kim Chang-hyeok, Editorial Writer, chang@donga.com