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.
If you have ever been to North Korea, you might know that feeling: you are in the country, and at the same time, you are not. Foreign visitors usually stroll through the streets as if they are caught inside a huge transparent rubber sphere. They can see and hear, but most of the time there is this invisible but tangible wall between them and the [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]