US Korea Institute

Tuesday June 30th 2015
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Bradley O. Babson

Bradley O. Babson is a consultant on Asian affairs with a focus on Korea and Northeast Asia economic cooperation. He is retired from a career at the World Bank, with a concentration in East Asia. In the early 1990s he worked on the opening up of Vietnam and was the first World Bank Resident Representative in Hanoi, and since 1997 has studied the North Korean economy and written extensively on economic perspectives on the integration of North Korea into the international community.

Could the New Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Change the Dynamics of Economic Engagement with North Korea?

Could the New Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Change the Dynamics of Economic Engagement with North Korea?

The surprisingly robust emergence of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) through its recruitment of 57 founding member countries has transformed prospects for economic cooperation in Asia. The AIIB promises to become a credible multilateral financial institution capable of funding significant infrastructure projects across the region. [...]

Dilemmas in Financial Engagement with North Korea

Dilemmas in Financial Engagement with North Korea

Over the past few months, there have been a number of important developments concerning North Korea’s external finances. In early December 2014, North Korea announced that the law governing wages for workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex had been revised, removing the upper limit without consultation with South Korean authorities. In [...]

The Demise of Jang Song Thaek and the Future of North Korea’s Financial System

The Demise of Jang Song Thaek and the Future of North Korea’s Financial System

The demise of Jang Song Thaek and those loyal to him just may be good news for the prospects of reforming the North Korean financial system. This system is perhaps the most perverse on the planet, having evolved in a context defined by North Korea’s isolation and inward orientation, its dogged adherence to the ideals of a State-directed economy, [...]

North Korea’s Push for Special Enterprise Zones: Fantasy or Opportunity?

North Korea’s Push for Special Enterprise Zones: Fantasy or Opportunity?

In recent weeks North Korea has actively publicized in domestic and foreign news media its determination to pursue an aggressive strategy to develop special enterprise zones (SEZs) throughout the country. This follows and complements the agreement reached between the two Koreas in September to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC)—which [...]

The Kaesong Opportunity

The Kaesong Opportunity

Some analysts, like Bruce Klingner writing in the Wall Street Journal on August 18, 2013 lament the recent agreement between the two Koreas to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), calling it a “trap,” wondering why the South Koreans would want to take this step given the opportunity to close the zone altogether, and claiming that KIC [...]

Will a New South Korean Policy for Inter-Korean Relations Help or Hinder Economic Reform in North Korea?

Will a New South Korean Policy for Inter-Korean Relations Help or Hinder Economic Reform in North Korea?

South Korean presidential candidates Park Geun-hye, left, of the ruling Saenuri Party, Moon Jae-in, centre, of the main opposition Democratic United party and independent hopeful Ahn Cheol-soo, right, who has pulled out. (Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP) It is now clear that following the South Korean Presidential elections this week there will be a [...]

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Credit for photo of young North Korean girl: T.M. All rights reserved, used with permission.