Only one way out for North

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Only one way out for North

One hundred days have passed since North Korea’s surprise move to redenominate its national currency. Widespread reports in South Korea suggest that the “currency reform,” as the North called it, exacerbated the country’s economic erosion despite the official line that it would tame inflation and keep private markets in check.

The North has given in to public outrage over the move, allowing trade in foreign currency and activity in the private market once again. Many observers had anticipated that the revaluation - which knocked two zeroes off the North’s currency and shrank personal savings - would result in such a backlash.

North Korean leaders have crippled the nation’s economy via poor state planning, isolation from the international community and belligerence.

Instead of tending to the source of the country’s problems, authorities preoccupied themselves by centralizing power and consolidating the regime’s control over the people.

Their ways of running the country have taken a heavy toll on the economy and individual lives. At this point there is only one solution: North Korea must open up and modernize.

China and Vietnam have made solid progress by opening up and reforming their economies without surrendering their Socialist identities.

In just over 30 years, China has soared from the poorest ranks of the world to become the second-largest economy on the globe. Many observers forecast that the country will surpass the United States to become the biggest economic power in the coming decades.

China and Vietnam opted to take the practical route to saving their economies by incorporating market principles based on their ideologies.

The first reform step North Korea must take is to veer away from its contentious approach to the external world and instead seek engaging, peaceful and reciprocally beneficial relations with the outside community.

It must break away from its insecurities and habit of eying South Korea, the United States and others as enemies out to bring down its regime.

No state wants to break down the North’s regime because that would only push the country over the edge when it comes to the use of nuclear weapons.

Countries who know the nation fear it will collapse on its own, which could be catastrophic.

North Korea is landlocked in one of the fastest-growing economic blocs in the world.

North Koreans are highly intelligent, and the country has a rich reserve of natural resources. With the right strategy and guidance, the country has the potential to quickly pull itself out of its economic quandary.

We urge the state to choose practical goals by opening its market and modernizing.

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