In preparation for the Singapore Summit between Trump-Kim Jong Un (and Xi?) and in response to the media requests coming in, we have prepared a brief fact sheet on Choson Exchange and Singapore. We thought this media fact sheet will be helpful to journalists visiting Singapore for their first time.
President Donald Trump will meet Marshal Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12. We are looking forward to hosting a viewing party of this event on June 12 and a discussion of North Korea's economic policies and evolution over the last decade of our work prior to the date. We hope both sides manage to compromise to create a breakthrough in their relations. We also salute Moon Jae In's skillful diplomacy in creating this moment.
Most tourists may stay in the Yanggakdo, set Alcatraz-like on an island in the Taedong river; others in the glitzy terracotta Koryo with its twin towers and revolving restaurant, a few stragglers end up further afield in the Sosan. But for us, a group of international experts coming to this city for trainings and life-marveling, the Pyongyang is enough to leave us nostalgic.
While rockets got bigger and sanctions became tougher in 2017, an enthusiastic group of local frontier entrepreneurs continued launching startups that make life better for people in the DPRK. Our latest Annual Report describes the challenges we faced and progress we made in one of the most difficult geopolitical environments in the world.
We mentioned previously that North Korea is likely to send a high level delegation to South Korea for the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Depending on how talks went during the opening ceremony and in the interim, we could see either public shunning by the United States of the North Korea delegation or on the other extreme, a public gesture between Ivanka Trump and the North Koreans.As North Korea is still unlikely to contemplate denuclearization, it seems that the negotiation continues. Some things to note in the run-up to the closing and at the closing:
Many of our teammates were glued to their screens watching the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony. While it is still hard to see a breakthrough between the US and DPRK on this trip, we are at least glad to see some form of high-level inter-Korean interaction that might facilitate US-DPRK talks. We think the following are some key political themes from Pyeongchang:
As the Ecosystem Strategy Lead at Choson Exchange, my role was to understand North Korea’s business landscape, research the dynamics of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems across the globe, and develop a perspective on how Choson Exchange can best support North Korean entrepreneurs by helping our partners develop an ecosystem in North Korea.
It was a chilly November morning in Pyongyang, and after three consecutive days of workshops with over a hundred North Korean entrepreneurs, we were ready for some sightseeing. Our partners extended an invitation to visit the Gold Cup food processing plant on the outskirts of the city and we were happy to accept, particularly as some of our workshop attendees were employed there.
Teaching startup skills and business knowledge to the frontier entrepreneurs of North Korea is often one of the most amazing things our volunteers have done. The recent Pyongsong Startup Bootcamp was particularly interesting: Instead of just telling us about their ideas, North Korean participants presented working prototypes and products they had already launched, looking for advice on how to improve their offerings.