DPRK Business Monthly Volume IV, No.4

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 current May 2013 edition here: DPRK Business Monthly Volume IV, No.4

Manpho Yonha Power Station (Photo by KCNA)

Manpho Yonha Power Station (Photo by KCNA)

Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • Sanctions on NK’s Foreign Trade Bank Could Affect Millions
  • UNFPA Provides Medical Aid to NK mothers
  • Sanctions Hit Humanitarian Funding
  • Inter-Korean Business at a Standstill
  • Manpho Yonha Power Station Opened
  • June 28th New Management Methods in Force
  • Rason Could Be NK’s Shenzhen
  • Sinuiju Open to Western Tourists

…plus a number of other items, including a selection of North Korean tours by various tour operators. Read the rest of this entry »

DPRK Business Monthly Volume IV, 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  current February 2013 edition here: DPRK Business Monthly Volume IV, No.1

Solar-powered streetlamps in Pyongyang

Solar-powered streetlamps in Pyongyang

Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • PRC Firm to Invest in NK Gold Mine, Hotel
  • Russia to Go Ahead with Pipeline
  • Phoenix regains Sinji brand name
  • Short-sighted Sanctions Hurt Ordinary People
  • NGO Initiatives in the DPRK: Waves 4 Water
  • Most ROK Firms Interested in Inter-Korean Economic Ties
  • Inter-Korean Trade Hits Record High in 2012
  • Internet Access for Visitors
  • Pyongyang Stores Selling More NK-made Goods
  • Pyongyang Gets Solar Street Lamps
  • NK’s Intranet Increases Cyber Courses
  • JV Pharmacy Open 24 Hours in Pyongyang
  • DPRK Eyes “World-class Tourism Resorts”
  • China to Start Electricity Supply to Rason

…plus a number of other items, including a selection of North Korean tours by various tour operators. Read the rest of this entry »

Books: “A Capitalist in North Korea” reviewed by Leonid Petrov

[CanKor Brain Trust member Dr. Leonid Petrov is a Russian academic teaching Korean History and Language at the University of Sydney. He is also a Research Associate at the Australian National Uuniversity School of International, Political & Strategic Studies. This review is taken from “Leonid Petrov’s KOREA VISION”, a personal website representing his views and opinions about both North and South Korea. –CanKor]


A CAPITALIST IN NORTH KOREA: My seven years in the Hermit Kingdom, by Felix Abt. Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2012. ISBN (ePub Edition): 978-1-937572-92-1. Reviewed by CanKor Brain Trust member Leonid Petrov.


Capitalist in North KoreaThis new book on North Korea is extraordinary. Since the late 1990s the influx of analytical and documentary literature on North Korea can be broadly divided into two categories: those that exhibit the terrors of life in North Korea, and the rest that speculate on what is wrong with North Korea. Felix Abt, a Swiss entrepreneur who lived and worked in the last communist Hermit Kingdom for seven years, attempts to depict life in North Korea as “normal” despite overwhelming ideological pressure from within and the harsh treatment from foreign powers. To date, only a handful of famed historians, such as Bruce Cumings and Gavan McCormack, have succeeded in showing North Korea from such an unusual angle.

As a business entrepreneur, Felix Abt prefers to remain apolitical and impartial when sharing his thoughts and memories of the seven-year sojourn. His writing exhibits his love for Korea and genuine concern for its people. In his assessments of North Korea’s past and present, the author approaches all issues from a human (and humanistic) perspective, attempting to present life in the country sans political or ideological colouring. But documenting everyday life in the DPRK “as it is” is often inherently counterproductive to the goal of presenting North Korea as “normal” or even on the road to normality. Snapshots of life in North Korea, more often than not, exhibit the miserable lives of the common people alongside the growing wealth of the privileged and trusted groups in the capital, Pyongyang. Read the rest of this entry »

DPRK Business Monthly Volume III, No.11

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  current December 2012 edition here: DPRK Business Monthly Vol III, No.11

250px-ryugyeong_hotel_on_february_20111Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • DPRK-China Trade Up 62%
  • German NGO Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
  • Kempinski to Manage Ryugyong Hotel
  • Mongolia Eyes Rajin Port Access
  • Book Review: A Capitalist in North Korea by Felix Abt

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

Comment by the Business Monthly Editor:

While blogs and tabloid newspapers had a field day with North Korea’s supposed announcement that it had discovered a “unicorn lair,” more responsible journalists pointed out that “unicorn” is one of many English translations of the word “Kirin.” This is the name of a mythical beast in Asian folklore, along with the dragon and the phoenix. In fact, KCNA itself pointed this out. Calling a cave a “Kirin cave” is no stranger than calling a peak “Dragon Peak” or a valley “Dragon Valley.”

The aim of the report was to offer the inscription “Kiringul” as evidence that King Tongmyong, the founder of the Koguryo kingdom (37 BC-668 AD) set up his capital near Pyongyang. This is understandable given the importance the DPRK and the ROK attach to claiming the allegiance of all Koreans. There are legends associated with the king, including one that he rode a Kirin.

If that was all there was to it, it would be hardly worth mentioning. But it is important to note that much reporting hostile to the DPRK will by accident — or design — pick on a clumsy translation to sneer at the North Koreans and present a misleading picture of the place.

Please feel free to consult the full issue by clicking on this link: DPRK Business Monthly Vol III, No.11

Related articles

Foreign Shareholding in Daedong Credit Bank Sold to Chinese Group

London UK/Pyongyang DPRK, 26 August 2011

The Board of Daedong Credit Bank is pleased to announce that the foreign shareholding in Daedong Credit Bank has been sold to a Chinese based corporate entity, the “Nice Group”. The foreign-appointed directors on the Board of Daedong Credit Bank have resigned with immediate effect, and have no further interests (financial or fiduciary) in the company.

Outgoing CEO of Daedong Credit Bank (and member of the CanKor Brain TrustNigel Cowie noted:

“I am now heavily involved with a second joint venture company in the DPRK, Hana Electronics JVC. Established in 2003, this company has enjoyed solid commercial success and has recently opened its new headquarters building, together with the expansion of its business lines. The success of both ventures has been such as to necessitate a decision to focus on one or the other, and a commercial decision had to be made. The bank is continuing to enjoy the commercial success it has seen for the past 16 years, but ironically the decision has been made easier by the general sanctions-laden environment in which financial business here is framed these days. As to the possibility of ever re-entering the bank, any decision we make will be based purely on commercial considerations.”

Both Hana Electronics and Phoenix Commercial Ventures bank with DCB, and will continue to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

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