US Korea Institute

Sunday April 30th 2017
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Ruediger Frank

Ruediger (Rudiger) Frank is a Professor of East Asian Economy and Society at the University of Vienna and Head of its Department of East Asian Studies with over 60 scholars and almost 2,000 students. He holds a PhD in Economics and an MA in Korean Studies, Economics and International Relations. He is on the advisory or editorial boards of over 15 academic journals related to Korea and East Asia.

He has been a researcher of and frequent visitor to North Korea ever since he spent one semester as a language student at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang 1991/1992. He has worked with the World Economic Forum since 2011 as a member and later as Vice Chair of its Global Agenda Council on Korea, and since 2016 as a member of its Global Future Council on Regional Governance. He is the author or editor of 13 books and over 200 book chapters and articles.

For more information, see http://ecos.univie.ac.at
For publications, see http://univie.academia.edu/RuedigerFrank

The North Korean Parliamentary Session and Budget Report for 2017

The North Korean Parliamentary Session and Budget Report for 2017

(Photo: VOA/KCTV) On April 11, 2017, the fifth session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) of the DPRK convened at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang. Such meetings are routine events taking place annually in the spring. Neither the parliamentary session nor its timing in 2017 were extraordinary. Moreover, the meeting was not [...]

Consumerism in North Korea: The Kwangbok Area Shopping Center

Consumerism in North Korea: The Kwangbok Area Shopping Center

During my last trip to North Korea in February 2017, I noted a number of interesting developments that have taken place since my previous visit in May 2016. They include the disappearance of iron bars from windows and balconies on the first two floors of residential buildings in Pyongyang, a complete change of the design of license plates for [...]

The Unification Cases of Germany and Korea: A Dangerous Comparison (Part 2 of 2)

The Unification Cases of Germany and Korea: A Dangerous Comparison (Part 2 of 2)

The first part of this analysis argued against simple comparisons of German unification and the hypothetical Korean case by showing major differences in the external forces and domestic attitudes that would influence unification of the Koreas. This next discussion will consider differences that impact unification costs—an apparent area of [...]

The Unification Cases of Germany and Korea: A Dangerous Comparison (Part 1 of 2)

The Unification Cases of Germany and Korea: A Dangerous Comparison (Part 1 of 2)

Germany’s unification in 1990 has remained a popular model for future Korean unification, with its precedents on issues like the transfer of legal systems and technical standards, requirements for infrastructure investment, unification costs and social aspects. A closer look, however, reveals that the differences between Germany and Korea far [...]

Between Wishful Thinking and Realism: Hopes for a Pyongyang Spring

Between Wishful Thinking and Realism: Hopes for a Pyongyang Spring

On September 20, 2016, the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) issued a call worth an estimated 1.6 million USD for projects to “foster the free flow of information into, out of, and within the DPRK.” In particular, applicants are encouraged to submit proposals for producing and transmitting radio [...]

The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: A Return to a New Normal

The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: A Return to a New Normal

The single most remarkable thing about the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) is that it took place. After a 36-year hiatus, it was, without doubt, a noteworthy event, but the truly big news we were waiting for—such as an announcement of a drastically new economic policy or a switch to collective leadership—was missing. There [...]

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