World Bank chief calls on North Korea to open doors

World Bank chief calls on North Korea to open doors
Jim Yong Kim, president of World Bank Group. (Yonhap)

World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim was adamant that the multilateral organisation could not support North Korea unless the country opened up its economy and joined the global community.

Citing the case of Myanmar, he requested the communist country ― albeit indirectly ― to open up and enjoy the full benefits.

"When Myanmar opened its economy, we were able to move very quickly in providing support for everything, from improving telecom and health sectors, reforming its government structure, and opening the nation's foreign direct investment policy to help its private sector," Kim said at a press briefing in Seoul Tuesday.

"Myanmar teaches us that it makes sense for a country to open up and receive many benefits from the global community and development banks."

The World Bank head declined to further elaborate on the North on the grounds that it is not a member of the organisation.

North Korea, led by Kim Jong-un who inherited one of the most reclusive countries in the world, has not yet officially applied to join global financial institutions such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.

Last November, South Korea's unification minister said he would help the country to join international financial organisations, but this is turning out to be difficult due to the nation's lack of economic transparency and rocky relationships with the US and Japan.

Speaking on the prospects for the global economy, he said, the outlook for the East Asian economies, which account for two-thirds of total trade in Asia, is the strongest.

He singled out South Korea as likely to show more robust growth than its OECD peers.

"South Korea's economic growth is expected to be 4 per cent this year. It is very healthy compared to other OECD countries," he said.

Kim added that South Korea's education system is the best in the world and improving it is critical to achieving economic growth over the medium to long term.

Regarding the recent concerns about the US Fed's moves to taper its quantitative easing, he said, "I know the concerns but we have to understand that the reason behind the end of bond buying is because the US economy is getting better. The good news is that the US economy continues to grow and it looks sustainable."

The Fed has also announced the bringing down of its bond buying programme well ahead of schedule to give enough time for the developing countries to adjust, he added.

On the Bank of Japan's recent moves to step up quantitative easing, Kim said the country appears to be striving to beat two decades of deflation.

"Japan will continue to step up its efforts to boost the economy as it is disappointed with the low economic growth," he predicted.

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