Vastavam web: 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. 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.
Kim has made two visits to meet Xi since March, while a high-level delegation from his ruling Workers’ Party toured China’s industrial hubs in an 11-day visit in May that focused on China’s high-tech urban transport and latest scientific breakthroughs. That delegation went to China only weeks after Kim declared an end to nuclear and missile tests and vowed an all-out effort toward “socialist economic construction.” Chinese media labeled Kim’s announcement North Korea’s “opening and reform”, shorthand for Deng’s policies, sparking a flurry of investment in housing in Dandong, the Chinese border town. China is already North Korea’s most important ally and biggest trade partner. And since Kim assumed power in 2011 the trade relationship has become even more important. China now represents more than 90 percent of Pyongyang’s trade, making it just about North Korea’s only economic lifeline.