Ruediger FrankRuediger Frank is a Professor of East Asian Economy and Society at the University of Vienna and Head of the Department of East Asian Studies. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Korea University and the University of North Korean Studies. He holds an M.A. in Korean Studies, Economics and International Relations and a Ph.D. in Economics. Visiting Professorships included Columbia University New York and Korea University Seoul. He is a Council member of the Association for Korean Studies in Europe, Vice Director of the Vienna School of Governance, and Deputy Editor of the European Journal of East Asian Studies. He is co-editor of the annual book "Korea: Politics, Economy and Society" (Brill). His major research fields are socialist transformation in East Asia and Europe (with a focus on North Korea), state-business relations in East Asia, and regional integration in East Asia.
Dr. Frank's latest work is the edited book (with S. Burghart) "Driving Forces of Socialist Transformation: North Korea and the Experience of Europe and East Asia" (Vienna: Praesens). In 1991/1992, he spent one semester as a language student at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang and has been a frequent visitor ever since. He testified before European Parliament and advised various governments on North Korea.
On January 1, 2014, Kim Jong Un gave his second New Year speech to the people of North Korea after resuscitating a tradition that existed until the death of Kim Il Sung in 1994. While this year’s speech, like last year’s, does not announce any major policy shifts—no reasonable observer of North Korea would have expected such an [...]
Jang Song Thaek has been purged, in a way that suggests that Kim Jong Un wanted to make a point. This unusual procedure is without a doubt a sign of major problems. Otherwise, the overambitious uncle would have been removed silently, as has happened so many times before. But putting all this in great detail on the front page of Monday’s Rodong [...]
The arrest of Merrill Newman on October 26 has been a great shock. It is tough enough to hear that the North Korean authorities took an 85-year-old into custody. But to make things even worse, they did it in a dramatic way—by escorting him off an airplane just about to leave Sunan airport for Beijing, which, on an ironic side note, suddenly [...]
A 38 North Product Review by Ruediger Frank A few months ago the ever-growing community of those interested in the DPRK learned that there is now something like a local version of the iPad—the Samjiyon tablet computer (p’anhyŏng k’omp’yut’ŏ samjiyŏn). After having had a chance to test it briefly during a visit in May 2013, I could [...]
A recent New York Times article on change in North Korea under Kim Jong Un emphasized a lack of progress for the majority. The facts cited in the article were most likely true, with the usual caveat concerning any information about that country. Many important observations were also made, such as spiking prices, the emergence of speculators, [...]
The Country Is Changing Not that it has ever been static, but within the few months between my travels to North Korea in spring and autumn of this year, the country has changed to the degree that even a foreign visitor cannot avoid noticing. While in April, everyone seemed to be somewhat tense and edgy, unsure about what would happen under the [...]