When challenged on the future of the North Korean people, Trump said that he had made a suggestion to Kim that he uses the country’s “great beaches” for real estate. “I said ‘boy, wouldn’t that make a great condo,’” Trump said. “You see that whenever they’re exploding their cannons into the ocean.”
The #NorthKoreaSummit was a made-for-television production. It had fancy blacked-out cars, slickly edited propaganda videos, and high-stakes drama.
Through the smiles and tap-tap pats, I kept thinking about the people of Seoul, those who live and work within artillery range of someone who reportedly used anti-aircraft weapons to kill his uncle.
The South Korean capital is thirty-five miles from the North Korean border, and 121 miles — and a world away — from Pyongyang.
Home to 11 million people, Seoul is the core of the South Korean economic machine.
Some interesting data points on Seoul and South Korea:
- Seoul’s population density is twice New York’s
- Seoul has the world’s fourth-largest metropolitan economy
- Seoul is the most wired city in the world
- South Korea spends 4.2% of GDP on R&D (the U.S. spends 2.7%)
- South Korean homes are 99.5% internet connected (U.S. homes are ~73%)
- South Korea’s long-term unemployment rate is 1.5% (the U.S. is 15%!)
- South Korea’s self-employment (entrepreneurship) rate is 25%
While South Korea’s focus on science and technology is impressive, no statistic is more powerful than this haunting picture.