Editor's note: 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China's 'reform and opening up' that opened the doors for a more prosperous China that helped hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens escape poverty as the nation had enjoyed rapid economic growth and development. CCTV.com takes a closer look at Beijing's comprehensive reforms with a series of special reports focusing on various fields where tremendous changes have taken place ever since the introduction of the policy.
A brand new era begins for the the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s government and its people. Pyongyang has recently announced intentions to move forward on a de-nuclearization pledge in the midst of DPRK leader Kim Jong-un forging ahead on diplomatic breakthroughs, such as meeting United States President Donald J. Trump face-to-face at the Singapore Summit last June and he participated in a series of meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The imagery says it all. DPRK wishes to embrace the world with peaceful gestures and we can anticipate that Pyongyang would like to usher in dramatic measures to boost its economy in order for its citizens to embark on a path of prosperity, which can inspire its people to welcome more foreign trade and investments after United Nations economic sanctions imposed on the country are lifted at a later date, if everything goes according to plan.
Nevertheless, DPRK has a long way to go, before it can jumpstart its development by building more infrastructure, setting up free trade zones, which could be located at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, and providing better standards of living for its society.
Such efforts would require full-fledged support for the industrialization, modernization and urbanization of the nation. Pyongyang holds a strong bond of friendship with Beijing, while DPRK officials can gain much more wisdom from their Chinese counterparts to learn how best to implements reform and opening up policies.
China holds forty years of rich experiences in the field, since the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping had introduced the reform and opening up policy with a formal declaration at the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in December 1978.
In 1978, China was a nation mired in widespread poverty and many Western nations looked at Beijing with so much suspicion. When Deng announced the reform and opening up policy, many Westerners expressed skepticism over the sincerity of the Chinese government. And few people really believed that even when China went ahead on allowing more free market measures that it would succeed in the long-run.
But Deng and the Chinese proved all those doubters wrong. China has now emerged as the world’s second largest economy in total aggregate GDP (gross domestic product) value. The country is still on pace to witness approximately a 6.8% GDP growth rate for this year, which stands well above the global average.
China had been one of the poorest nations, but the nation’s 40 years of reform and opening up policy had lifted around 800 million Chinese out of dire poverty and with its rising Middle Class, the Chinese can enjoy sustainable development for many years and decades to come.
In regards to economic concerns, results matter the most. When citizens are working in better jobs, they can afford more luxuries for their families and have hope they can earn higher incomes that brings in greater stability and confidence for the nation as a whole. DPRK can become a richer nation, but the road ahead will not be easy.
Just like Beijing, many outsiders will harbor doubts over Pyongyang’s peaceful path to prosperity, but DPRK can receive much assistance from its neighbors, especially from Russia and China, while South Korea has offered to pour more aid and investments into the country as well.
Just imagine the great rewards if DPRK follows a similar journey as China with its reform and opening up policy. China has built the world’s most extensive hi-speed rail networks and DPRK could also construct more railroads to transport passengers and cargo to upgrade logistics in deliveries of goods either for domestic consumption or exporting products abroad.
Pyongyang can take a closer look at China’s Special Economic Zones that were located on the country’s southern and eastern coastlines and try to imitate the model in the nation.
The country also has an amazing opportunity to promote its tourism industry. Recently, Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in had climbed Mt. Paektu together and the moment they both reached the top of the mountain that will never be forgotten. Many South Koreans are avid mountain climbers and they would love to go to Mt. Paektu as well.
In other words, DPRK is making the choice for peace and wishes to grow richer. Pyongyang can succeed by walking hand-in-hand with Beijing and the world should encourage such efforts since a prosperous DPRK can assure greater peace in the region.