SEOUL: For Hyundai, the South Korean conglomerate, North Korea has been a story of lost opportunities – and tragedy.In 2003, months before Hyundai was set to open an industrial complex in North Korea, the executive behind the project committed suicide amid accusations his company had made a secret US$500 million payment to the North.Five years later, a Hyundai-run resort in the North was closed after a North Korean soldier shot a South Korean tourist.Both projects have long been shuttered, symbolizing the difficulties South Korean companies have had doing business across the border.But, emboldened by a thawing of relations on the Korean peninsula and attracted by its promise of cheap labor and untapped growth, Hyundai is again preparing to return to North Korea.Hyundai executives and investors are encouraged by a pledge by Seoul and Pyongyang to re-open the Kaesong industrial park and the Mt. Kumgang resort as part of a warming in ties between the neighbors.International … [Read more...] about After tragedies and big losses, Hyundai looks to reverse North Korea fortunes
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SEOUL (AFP) - A high-level South Korean delegation will fly to North Korea this week to discuss arrangements for an inter-Korean summit there this month, as relations grow cooler between Washington and Pyongyang. The South’s President Moon Jae-in Sunday (Sept 2) named his top security adviser as a special envoy to the North to discuss details before Moon’s planned meeting in Pyongyang with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, will lead a five-member delegation to the North’s capital on Wednesday, Moon’s spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters. The delegation, which also includes South Korea’s spy chief Suh Hoon, will fly to Pyongyang via a rare direct route across the inter-Korean border for their day trip. It will be Chung’s second visit to the North since March, when he headed the same five-member team to arrange the first summit between Moon and Kim and met Kim Jong-Un. The spokesman … [Read more...] about South Korea President Moon Jae-in names top security adviser as envoy to North Korea
SEOUL: North Korea will play in a table tennis competition in South Korea this month, in the latest sign of warming ties between the Cold War rivals whose rapprochement owes much to sport.North Korea, who competed in February's Winter Olympics in the South, will send a team for the Korean Open south of Seoul from Jul 17 to 22, the International Table Tennis Federation said."It is a proud moment for the ITTF to be able to support another sign of peace on the Korean Peninsula, by helping North Korea send a team to the Korean Open," said ITTF president Tomas Weikert.North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics set the stage for a rapid improvement in relations with both Seoul and Washington, culminating in last month's summit between Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Singapore.The two Koreas, who are still technically at war, bonded over table tennis as long ago as 1991, when they joined forces for the world championships in Japan and won the women's team … [Read more...] about Ping-pong diplomacy: North Korea table tennis team heads South
Is North Korea ready to dismantle its nuclear program? Kim Jong-un’s surprising moves in recent months, from inviting South Korean envoys to visiting China, give reason for optimism. It is indeed worth noting that for the first time since the Korean War, a North Korean leader will be visiting South Korean territory. We will also see a first-ever meeting between the incumbent heads of the United States and North Korea. The dailyReport Must-reads from across Asia - directly to your inbox However, as unique as these occasions may be, the expectations for the meetings’ success are inflated. In South Korean media, there are even talks of potential unification following denuclearization within a decade. But total denuclearization – defined by the US as complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of a nuclear program – is a goal far over the horizon for now. Kim is unlikely to give up irreversibly his “ticket to survival” any … [Read more...] about Is North Korea really ready to denuclearize?
SEOUL (REUTERS) - South Korean trade officials braved snowstorms, ate instant noodles to save time and spent weeks hotel-hopping in Washington as they raced to overcome major trade hurdles with their US ally ahead of high-stakes nuclear discussions with North Korea. What was meant to be a week-long trip to Washington stretched into a four-week marathon, as dozens of Seoul officials sought to wrap up talks aimed at amending the six-year-old US-Korea Free Trade Agreement known as KORUS, according to several South Korean officials with direct knowledge of the matter. US plans announced earlier this month to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminum imports added urgency to the trade negotiations. As the third-largest steel exporter to the United States, South Korea had a lot to lose from 25 per cent tariffs. Seoul also felt it couldn't afford a protracted trade dispute with its most important ally at a time when the two need to work together to contain a nuclear-armed North Korea, the … [Read more...] about How Seoul raced to conclude US trade deal ahead of North Korea talks