US Korea Institute

Thursday October 30th 2014
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Ruediger Frank

Ruediger 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.

The SPA Session of April 2014: Spotlight on Sports and Economic and Trade Zones

The SPA Session of April 2014: Spotlight on Sports and Economic and Trade Zones

The first session of the newly elected 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA, North Korea’s parliament) was fairly mundane without too many big surprises. There were no unexpected changes on the personnel front, the constitution was not amended, no new laws were promulgated, no reform and opening policy was formulated, no new weapons were [...]

Fire the Speech Writers: An East German’s Perspective on President Park’s Dresden Speech

Fire the Speech Writers: An East German’s Perspective on President Park’s Dresden Speech

Following up on Aidan Foster-Carter’s analysis of ROK President Park Geun-hye’s Dresden speech, let me add a few subjective thoughts, since the event took place in my home region. All in all, this speech is a remarkably frank, but not necessarily a very sensitive document, particularly from an East German perspective. The subtle messages it [...]

Some Thoughts on the North Korean Parliamentary Election of 2014

Some Thoughts on the North Korean Parliamentary Election of 2014

Elections for the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), the parliament of North Korea, were held on March 9, 2014. Such elections take place every five years. The last polls, originally scheduled for 2008, were held in 2009, most likely in response to the worsening health condition of then leader Kim Jong Il. The elections in 2003 had been [...]

A Guide to Kim Jong Un’s 2014 New Years Speech

A Guide to Kim Jong Un’s 2014 New Years Speech

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 [...]

Exhausting Its Reserves? Sources of Finance for North Korea’s “Improvement of People’s Living”

Exhausting Its Reserves? Sources of Finance for North Korea’s “Improvement of People’s Living”

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 Mysterious Case of Merrill Newman: The Perils and Pitfalls of Traveling to the DPRK

The Mysterious Case of Merrill Newman: The Perils and Pitfalls of Traveling to the DPRK

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 [...]

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