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South should encourage North Korea

By Shan Renping (Global Times)

09:49, July 12, 2012

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently watched a concert in Pyongyang that featured many Disney characters, including Mickey Mouse. The news spurred speculations among Western media about the possibility that the "unusual" concert signifies a possible North Korean policy shift toward "opening-up."

North Korea's opening-up is absolutely possible. North Korea's neighbors are some of the most dynamic economies in Asia and the world. China has much experience of reform and opening-up that North Korea could learn from. Kim commands authority in the country as well as has active mind. Advancing North Korea's national strategy is naturally an attractive option for the new government.

The most important thing at the moment is that Northeast Asia's geopolitical development should encourage North Korea's opening up instead of repeatedly creating tensions that will only intensify Pyongyang's caution and vigilance.

Actually, since junior Kim came to power, there have already been some interesting changes in North Korea.

For example, he announced in April that his country will build a strong knowledge-based economy and will put more energy and money into improving the national economy and people's livelihood.

North Korea will become involved into Northeast Asia's economic integration in the long run.

Such a scenario, if it happens, will bring benefits not only to North Korea, but to the region as a whole, and especially to South Korea.

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