There are questions on how much Moon can engage, or how soon, given the potential US political backlash. But anyway, here are our colleague Andray's personal views on how a new economic engagement policy under South Korea should look like: "Supporting smaller-scale investments in North Korea by South Korean companies offers a more promising path to achieving greater North-South economic cooperation....Even at the KIC’s peak era, the limitations on its success and spillover effects into the North Korean economy were manifold..."
In September 2016, Marcus Olsson, the co-founder and CEO of Swedish tech startup SceneThere which produces custom 360-degree video experiences, visited North Korea as a volunteer with Choson Exchange to lead workshops on innovation and entrepreneurship as a workshop leader. He realized that there is more to DPRK than what he has read in the media and created the world's first interactive VR experience from North Korea, to encourage better understanding of this country.
China has Alibaba and Taobao, the rest of the world has Amazon.com — except the DPRK, where a team of North Koreans pitched our volunteers for an e-commerce platform on the domestic intranet that would connect customers with businesses through web- and mobile apps. The pitch was part of our latest Pyongyang Startup Bootcamp, a series of talks and mentoring sessions with CE volunteers who spent a week in the DPRK to help more than 80 Koreans develop business ideas for the local market.
There has been a lot of talk in the US and by President Donald Trump about how China owns the North Korea issue, and how only China has leverage over North Korea. We just finished reading an amazing report “China’s Engagement of North Korea: Challenges and Opportunities for Europe” by the Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute (SIPRI) on China’s attitudes and approach to North Korea. This report is a valuable contribution to the field, as it fills in the major gap US scholars and think tanks have in understanding China’s thinking on this important issue. It’s a long read, but worth the time as it goes beyond the superficial analysis of “China does not want refugees flooding its border if North Korea collapses”.
The Malaysian embassy in Pyongyang has always treated us kindly. From sharing with us home-brewed Teh Tarik to home-cooked Mee Rebus, the few times we have met with them has been one of rich hospitality. The diplomats we met there seem to enjoy their stay, despite the hardship nature of the posting. While not a particularly active relationship, it was seemingly cordial with party to party, government to government and some economic and cultural exchanges.
There has been a lot of speculation around what China’s import ban on North Korean coal for 2017 means. Does this mean that China is finally coming around to the US position? If there is any doubt about that, the public disagreement in the US-China Munich meeting should dispel it
We first visited the Yokjon a couple of years ago, and it has become a firm favourite with Choson Exchange workshop leaders. Repeated trips to work with North Korean entrepreneurs in Pyongyang have meant visits to dozens of different eating establishments in the capital, and whilst the Korean food is fantastic, sometimes you just need a day having something other than kimchi. The Yokjon satisfies that need admirably.
The Taesong Restaurant is located Southeast of the Polish embassy by about 500 meters and features a number of firsts in the Pyongyang dining scene. They serve beers in liter sized glasses. Oh sure, they have normal 500cc sized beers, also, but why wouldn't you get a whole liter? That's a lot of beer.