Thursday, May 21, 2015

North Korea hopes for investment from the South

A very interesting investigative piece appeared a few days ago in the Korea Joongang Daily. (click on the graphic to see a full sized version) Entitled "Pyongyang hopes for investment from the South," it noted that "Several informants told the JoongAng Ilbo that North Korea is hoping that major South Korean conglomerates will set up manufacturing plants and other operations in North Korea. “High-ranking North Korean government officials and businessmen said they are hoping that South Korean conglomerates would invest in North Korea’s regional and industrial complexes,” Han, a Korean-American who wished only to be identified by his family name, told the JoongAng Ilbo on Sunday after holding a meeting with a North Korean official at the Ministry of External Economic Affairs in Pyongyang last month."
As shown in the accompanying graphic, North Korea reportedly wants South Korean companies to invest in its infrastructure.  Curiously, only one of these projects involves the ICT sector, per se, and that is a hoped-for electronics complex north of Pyongyang.
The article also notes the obvious need to establish some political stability in the North, if there is to be significant investment outside of Kaesong by leading South Korean firms.  It concludes by noting that "South Korean business groups are urging the government to push forward economic cooperation with North Korea as they are feeling some competitive heat, including from China and Japan, which have shown interest in advancing into North Korea’s . “It would be too late if South Korean companies advance into North Korea after the relationship between the two Koreas improves,” said Lim Eul-chul, professor at Kyungnam University. “We have to keep in mind the fierce competition with China, Japan and Russia.” "

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