US Korea Institute

Tuesday February 9th 2016
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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 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea in 2016: Return to a “New Normal” or Risk a “Take-Off”?

The 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea in 2016: Return to a “New Normal” or Risk a “Take-Off”?

On October 30, 2015, North Korean media including the Korea Central News Agency (KCNA) announced that in early May 2016, the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK, or simply the Party) will be convened. For a socialist country, a Party Congress should be a routine event; decades ago it was, more or less, also for North Korea. The [...]

North Korea’s Foreign Trade

North Korea’s Foreign Trade

Foreign trade is, like elsewhere and for obvious reasons, one of the key indicators of North Korea’s economy. However, since the state is notoriously reluctant to provide related figures, we have to rely on external sources to obtain this data. The South Korean Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) is one institution that has for many years [...]

The North Korean Budget Report 2015: Ten Observations

The North Korean Budget Report 2015: Ten Observations

On April 9, 2015, the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), North Korea’s parliament, met for its annual spring session. As usual, the Prime Minister gave an overview of the major economic achievements of the past year and the tasks ahead, and the Minister of Finance reported on the state budget for the previous and current years. Given the lack [...]

Rason Special Economic Zone: North Korea as It Could Be

Rason Special Economic Zone: North Korea as It Could Be

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 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 [...]

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