Business with North Korea: The Growing North Korean Economy

In a little break from writing about mundane Korean legal topic, here is an article from the Washington Post that sheds a little light on the North Korean economy.  Well worth a read. The economy in North Korea is growing, mainly, because of the contributions of Korean workers working outside North Korea in Chinese owned textile mills, mines, restaurants and other industries shunned by the, increasingly, wealthy Chinese workers.  The Washington Post has a great article on this situation.  The article, notes, in part that: Gaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea “In the clothing factory, the women work 13 hours

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Concern Worldwide Opens Non-Profit Organization in Korea

I am proud to report that Concern Worldwide, a private Irish non-profit agency, has opened an office in Seoul, Korea.  Concern Worldwide is the largest humanitarian-focused NGO in Ireland.  Below is the press release from Concern Worldwide. CONCERN WORLDWIDE, Ireland’s largest humanitarian agency, today announced that it is opening a fundraising office in the Republic of Korea (aka South Korea). The official launch of the agency’s presence in the country will take place today on Thursday, October 29th, at a welcome reception hosted by the Irish Ambassador in Seoul, Aingeal O’Donoghue.  “This is a significant moment in the history of

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Why we should care about North Korea?: North’s Harsh Reality by Senior Advisor Tom Coyner

While reading Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se’s essay “Preparing for Reunification” in the Feb. 13 edition of the Korea JoongAng Daily, I felt both empathy and frustration. But in the end, I can understand why diplomats continue to make seemingly ludicrous, even quixotic, demands of North Korea. The minister’s column reminded me of a white paper I recently edited for a major Korean research center. The white paper summarized extensive investigations by think tanks of the six-party talk nations, with the exception of North Korea. The shared study looked at nation rebuilding in a reintegrated Korea. Each contributing think tank considered

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How I Discovered that Smoking Weed is Legal in North Korea – by Tom Coyner

A hat tip to a non-Korean artist friend who also has lived much or most of his life in Asia for forwarding this piece to me. Given the cost of tobacco and the ease of cultivating marijuana, I had heard from a foreign friend who had lived in North Korea that workers often resort to marijuana as a cheap substitute for tobacco.  Perhaps only in the DPRK may one find that to be the case.  On the other hand, if marijuana was legalized, I suspect the price would vastly plummet – provided the local governments decide not to regulate and

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Korean Pro-North Priest Investigated By Prosecution

Chang-Shin Park a Jeonju diocese senior priest is being investigated by the Joenju District Prosecutors Office.  The priest made peculiar remarks defending the 2010 shelling by North Korea of a South Korean occupied island on the West Coast of Korea. The shelling led to the death of two Korean civilians and a Korean Marine.  The argument justified the shelling by noting that North Korea, inter alia, is just protecting its territory as South Korea is doing on Dokdo Island.  A priest justifying the killing of civilians by North Korea for purposes of defending tiny islets seems a little peculiar to

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South Korea’s Stealing United States Military Technology?

Foreign Policy just put out an interesting article that might sour recent news that South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) was nearing a deal by which it would purchase F-35s from Lockheed Martin.  The article, which primarily deals with the suspicion that the South Koreans may be stealing U.S. military secrets, had this to say about the F-35 program: “Right now, the dialogue between the two countries is focused heavily on the potential sale of the advanced F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the South Koreans. American officials are putting into place a strict security agreement to ensure that nothing

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South Korea’s Stealing United States Military Technology?

Foreign Policy just put out an interesting article that might sour recent news that South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) was nearing a deal by which it would purchase F-35s from Lockheed Martin.  The article, which primarily deals with the suspicion that the South Koreans may be stealing U.S. military secrets, had this to say about the F-35 program: “Right now, the dialogue between the two countries is focused heavily on the potential sale of the advanced F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to the South Koreans. American officials are putting into place a strict security agreement to ensure that nothing

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Korea Legal News for the Week of August 4, 2013

This Week’s Korean Legal News Reported by Media Gov’t to expand tax on plastic surgeries N.Korea’s uranium enrichment facility doubles in size U.S. trade commission may side with Apple over Samsung Japanese Embassy finds no temporary offices in Seoul Hyundai Motor workers end 10-month protest Effective tax rates for high income earners to sharply rise Income gap in N.Korea widens Prosecution raids Gwangju mayor’s office Park beats NK leader over Gaeseong Ministry seeks to open business center in Boston Most Recent Posts from The Korean Law Blog Hyundai Motors on the Fast Track to a 45,000 Employee Strike Business Opportunities

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Korea Legal News for the Week of June 2, 2013

This Week’s Korean Legal News Reported by Media Two Koreas agree to hold talks to normalize ties Most listed Korean companies’ profits dwindle Collecting Fines from Ex-Pres. US, China, Japan Hail Koreas’ Moves to Hold Gov’t-level Talks Korea’s May trade surplus biggest in 32 months 1,000 women file complaint against Park’s ex-spokesman Korea to collect and recall U.S. wheat, flour imports from Oregon South Korea prepares contingency plan amid swings in bond market S.Korea, China pledge to expand military cooperation AirHop signs SON deal in South Korea Most Recent Posts from The Korean Law Blog Apple Infringed Samsung Patents According

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Korea Legal News for the Week of May 5

This Week’s Legal News Reported by Media Korea’s President seeks to shore up U.S. support Bank of China closes account of key North Korean bank  Samsung C&T wins $483 mln order to build Mongolian coal railway  Korea dept, discount store sales both fall in April  GM plans no pullout from South Korea but workforce a worry: CEO quoted  Samsung wind turbine test site plans backed by ministers LG takes No. 3 spot in smartphone market  Korea May Jump on Rate Cutting Bandwagon  Korea ratifies 5.3 trln won fiscal stimulus plan  Foreign ownership of listed shares drops to 8-month low  Korea

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Korea Legal News for the Week of April 28

This Week’s Legal News Reported by Media South Korea withdraws citizens from joint factory after North snubs talks North Korea’s trade with EU halves in 2012 Private equity firm to buy stake in Korea’s STX Energy LS Power completes part of Arizona Arlington Valley solar farm Korea, China agree on basic guidelines for FTA Korea-Turkey FTA to boost industrial exports Multinational firms flocking to Korea National Assembly OKs retirement age change Anti-corruption body to toughen law on bribery Korea BOK warns of high default risks in three sectors Most Recent Posts from The Korean Law Blog Getting a Marital Separation

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South Korean’s Aiding North Korean Hackers Arrested in South Korea by Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office has announced that they have arrested the owner of a South Korean-based company and its employees for violation of the National Security Law.  The owner of the company was arrested and detained and the owner’s older brother and the employees of the company were arrested, but were released pending further investigation. The arrests were, apparently, in relation to the recent cyber attacks by North Korea and, also, the alleged operation by the arrested of an illegal gambling site, futures trading site and spam email program. The prosecution has alleged that the technology for operating

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Should your Company in South Korea be Concerned About the Threats from North Korea

North Korea has ratcheted up its propaganda.  The situation is the most tense, since I first came to Korea in the mid 1990s.  However, most of my friends and colleagues, that have lived in Korea far longer than I, are not concerned. For these old Korean hats, North Korea is simply rattling its little saber, since the tension between the North and the South allows the North Korean population to have an increased sense of nationalism and loyalty to Kim Dynasty; when North Korea, in the past, shook its rattle, the international community provided more foreign aide and the international

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Korea’s New President and the North Korean Issue by Tom Coyner

This week South Korea has a new beginning, with a new president who promises change – she is the nation’s first female head of government – while providing continuity as a member of the same party of the outgoing president. But as the old saying goes, “The more things change, the more things remain the same.” That is to say, in spite of contemporary events’ cosmetics, the fundamentals remain remarkably constant. I was reminded of this fact during my monitoring of an email roundtable. Last week I sent out an essay by American columnist and part-time politician Patrick Buchanan. Like

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Personal Data Protection in Korea under the Korean Information and Communications Network Act

Under the Korean Act on the Promotion of Information and Communications Network Utilization and Information Protection, Etc. (“ICNT”) a Government Notice, that entered into force last month, mandates all the major information services providers and data centers to become Information Security Management Systems certified. The Notice was a reaction to security breaches that may have revealed confidential information of users of various websites.  The Notice requires all press agencies, on-line shopping malls,  web portals and the like with revenue of over KRW 10 million or over 1 million users to become certified or face shutdown and a KRW 10 million

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The North Korean Children Welfare Act of 2012 Signed into Law in the States

The U.S. president has signed the North Korean Child Welfare Act into Law. The bill, in short, urges the U.S. Secretary of State to protect North Korean children in nations outside of North Korea. The bills were passed by Congress with a unanimous vote of each chamber. Numerous orphaned North Korean children are living in China in less than adequate conditions. Many of the parents of these children have been repatriated back to North Korean from China by force. The Act specifically notes that the Secretary of State must “brief appropriate congressional committees on efforts to advocate for and develop

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Most Japanese are Shocked when they Realize the Latent Antipathy the Rest of Asia Including Korea still holds toward them.

President Lee Myung-bak’s recent demand that the Japanese emperor formally apologize prior to a future visit has been considered belligerent by vocal Japanese commentators. And yet the emperor needs to stand up and do the right thing, if only for the overall welfare of the Japanese. While Japanese right-wing extremists often attract media attention, most Japanese are eager to put Japan’s differences with its neighbors behind them. In fact, most Japanese are shocked when they realize the latent antipathy the rest of Asia still holds toward them. This shock comes from most Japanese possessing friendly sentiments toward the world in

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The Greying Radicals in Korea and How they May Harm Your Korean Business

As an American who has spent half my life in Northeast Asia, it has taken me some time to get my head around why we see so many more graying radicals on the left and the right in this part of the world than we see in the West. Last week, I was reminded about this widespread political phenomenon while reading an article about Kim Young-hwan in this paper’s companion, the International Herald Tribune. Kim Young-hwan was an iconic student leader of the 1980s who essentially embraced the juche, or self-reliance, ideology. He jumped at the opportunity to secretly visit

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Korea, China, Japan – East Asia FTA Negotiations to Commence

It has been reported in local news outlets that China, Japan and Korea have vowed to commence free trade negotiations and cooperate in alleviating the issues with North Korea. Korea’s Yonhap News has reported, in part, that: During annual summit talks in Beijing, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also agreed to start preparations to launch official negotiations on a three-way free trade agreement by the end of the year. The summit came a month after North Korea unsuccessfully launched a long-range rocket on April 13. Though the rocket fizzled soon

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What can Korea Learn From Ireland? by Senior Advisor Tom Coyner

My recent essay, “Denuclearization – Korea’s Red Herring,” stirred much discussion. Most reaction was favorable, but there was also some heated controversy. I had a chance to engage at depth with two ambassadors to Korea. Both diplomats were quite familiar, of course, with North and South Korea. I will try to fairly represent both ambassadors’ perspectives since one man was skeptical and the other was encouraging of my ideas. Readers may draw their own conclusions. The first ambassador is from Eastern Europe. He began his career under a socialist government and is therefore in a privileged position of viewing North

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