Asia

US offers to help rebuild N Korea economy if it denuclearises

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Image copyright EPA
Image caption Mike Pompeo said there could be "a future brimming with peace and prosperity" for the North

America will help rebuild North Korea's economy if it agrees to give up its nuclear weapons, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

The US would be "prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on the par with our South Korean friends", he told reporters on Friday.

Mr Pompeo, who has just returned from Pyongyang, said he had "good" talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Mr Kim and President Donald Trump will meet in Singapore on 12 June.

The two leaders, who had previously exchanged insults and threats, made the announcement after landmark talks between North and South Korea in April.

What did Mr Pompeo say?

"If chairman Kim chooses the right path, there is a future brimming with peace and prosperity for the North Korean people," he said after Friday's talks in Washington with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

Mr Pompeo urged Pyongyang to take "bold action to quickly denuclearise".

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionHow to talk to North Korea - advice from three North Korean experts

But he stressed that this would require a "robust verification" programme by the US and other nations.

During his surprise visit to North Korea this week, Pyongyang released three US detainees.

How do North and South Korean economies compare?

Daily life in the two countries couldn't be more different.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionFour defectors talk about what life is like in North Korea

After the end of the Korean war in 1953 the South, an ally of the US, embraced a capitalist philosophy. It has developed into one of Asia's most affluent nations.

A government-sponsored industrial push in the 1960s led to huge corporations like Samsung and Hyundai being created.

Key figures:

  • Population:51.2m in South Korea; 25.4m in North Korea
  • GDP: $1.4tn - South Korea; less than$20bn - North Korea
  • Life expectancy: 82 years - South Korea; 70 years - North Korea

South Korea is one of the world's top 20 economies, with GDP of $1.4tn (£1tn).

By contrast, North Korea's GDP is less than $20bn, placing it well outside the top 100 economies.

It has a communist system, but capitalism is creeping into the country.

There are things to buy - but only for some people, those who have money. The majority of people in North Korea live in poverty.

Kim Jong-un has made clear that development is a priority.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDonald Trump and Kim Jong-un: From enemies to frenemies?

More on this story