South Korea can help the North reach its potential

North Korea has the potential to emerge as a major player on the world stage if it is serious to eschew the path of confrontation, and comes clean on its nuclear programme, which it is expected to do after a meeting with US President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in on June 12. A UN delegation believes there's so much Pyongyang could achieve if it embraces the path to development and modernity that its neighbour South Korea is renowned for. Innovation has been the mantra for the South which is now an economic power with a GDP of $1.4 trillion. North Korea, in comparison, is way behind at less than $20 billion. The South figures in the top 20 economies while the North is way down the charts, bringing up the tail, outside the world's 100 economies. But Seoul wants it to be a partner in the progress of the Korean Peninsula, and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un surprised the world by reciprocating warmly to the South's gestures of goodwill and brotherhood.
It is encouraging to note that the World Food Programme has been given 'unprecedented' access to the rural heartland of the country. The head of the WFP, David Beasley, said, "There is a sense of turning a new page in history." He said the country was trying hard to meet nutritional standards for its people. The North remained closed after the end of the Korean War in 1953, and was often called the Hermit Kingdom. This shift in strategy to open up to the world is because Kim has consolidated his grip on power by bumping off his rivals, including his step-brother and uncle. In the South Korean president, he has found a willing ally. President Moon passed on a USB to Kim during their historic meeting last month on several projects in the North. Seoul is best placed to help Pyongyang reach its development goals. US President Trump pitched in to say the US would help the North just as it did for the South after the war. It's now up to Kim to make it happen for his people, and for world peace.

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