On the Sunday morning talk show circuit, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made multiple appearances to again emphasize the economic gains North Korea could secure by dismantling their nuclear program. He promised sanctions would be lifted and would pave the way for private American investment in the isolated North Korean economy.
Pompeo had promised last week that North Korea would get “peace and prosperity” for the end of its nuclear program, and on Sunday reiterated that the US would give them economic prosperity to rival South Korea.
Now, however, Pompeo insists no US taxpayer dollars are to be invested, and this prosperity is purely to be the result of private US investment and a lack of sanctions. Either way, it appears incredibly optimistic to believe North Korea’s disastrous command economy could be quickly a rival of one of the world’s richest nations.
Foreign investment can clearly have an enormous impact in the right circumstances, though North Korea’s economy is not currently organized to allow such investments, whether or not the US makes them legal. This would require a dramatic liberalization of North Korea’s economy to even attempt.
South Korea’s offers of railroads and power plants are likely to have an immediate impact, and are tangible things they can deliver to the north. Pompeo’s offer is meant to sound grander, but seems unlikely to be deliverable in any kind of timely fashion.