DPRK Business Monthly Volume III, No.1


The DPRK Business Monthly, an international business report edited in Beijing, has been made available to CanKor readers by its editor, Paul White. Please check the  third volume of the February 2012 edition here: DPRK Business Monthly February 2012.

A bus carrying eight south Korean parliamentarians crosses the DMZ at Paju. (Photo by AP)

Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • NK Amends Law on Foreign-funded Banks
  • NK Hires US Firm to Restart Kumgang Tours
  • US Ties Hamstring SK Businesses’ NK Prospects
  • Items Most in Demand in NK in 2011
  • Daewoo to Pioneer NK-China New Zone Advance
  • China to Lease 3 Rason Piers for 50 years
  • ROK Lawmakers Cross DMZ to Investigate Kaesong
  • Rising Demand for Workers at Kaesong
  • Seoul to Allow Upgrading of Kaesong Facilities

…plus a number of other items, including a selection of North Korean tours by various tour operators.

Comment by the Business Monthly Editor:

A report in the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper January 26 appears to have been a piece of disinformation.The Telegraph reported that the North Korean government had warned its citizens they would be “branded as war criminals and punished accordingly” if caught using mobile phones during the 100-day period of national mourning for the late DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, who died December 17, 2011. This seemed odd, as the DPRK government then accepted the delivery of over 40,000 mobile phones from China.

The report was widely picked up by other news outlets, including Forbes, Foreign Policy, Global Post and Computerworld, and made for great headlines (“In N. Korea, use a cellphone and die”). Martyn Williams of NKTech contacted Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT), which runs the North Korean 3G cellular service under the Koryolink brand name, which scotched the story.

The Telegraph report was attributed to Good Friends, a South Korean NGO, and came days before OTMT Chairman Naguib Sawiris arrived in Pyongyang to meet senior government officials. During the visit the company announced Koryolink had signed up its millionth customer.

Williams commented that if the NK government wanted people off mobile phones it could just order the network to be shut down. That would be much more effective than threatening subscribers, he said. Attempts to contact Good Friends for comment were unsuccessful, according to Williams.

Another instance of distortion of the news about NK — this time to try to deflect interest in economic cooperation between the Koreas — was displayed in prominent stories in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News last month. They followed a detailed report in South Korea’s Dong-A Ilbo about the ROK chaebol (major industrial conglomerate) Daewoo’s intention to build a dockyard and other facilities in the newly-opened Chinese-NK joint development zone of Hwanggeumpyong .

They contacted a spokesman for the company, who said that “had no such plans.” If they had read the original report more carefully they would have noticed that Daewoo is to release the finalized plans only after a board of directors’ meeting in April

Please feel free to consult the full issue by clicking on this link: DPRK Business Monthly Volume III, No. 1  February 2012.

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