Since Kim Jong Il passed away in December 2011, concerns about the stability of the North Korean leadership have been numerous, but so far the smooth continuation of political and economic affairs has been a key priority. The North Korea-watching community has therefore been taken aback by the rumored removal of Jang Sung Thaek (more information about Jang Sung Thaek available there), a figure with deep connections to the Kim family and involvement in maintaining administrative and economic matters.
For those who were trying to invest in North Korea, the ousting of of Jang Sung Thaek is a kind of disappointing news. Jang Sung Thaek was not only responsible for the administrative department of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers Party, but he was also responsible for a certain number of investments in North Korea. Of course not only himself, but also a certain number of his friends, relatives and others. Therefore I do believe that it’s not the right moment to invest in North Korea because a certain number of economical partners in North Korea have probably disappeared. Therefore how can you predict the behavior of a considered partner if the CEO of the considered project (on the North Korean side) disappeared? I do believe that a lot of international projects involving North Korea involved also a Jang’s acolyte. That’s especially true in the FMGC and tourism sector.
That’s why I consider that it will be better to adopt a “wait and see” attitude, waiting that new managers emerged in the companies which were previously managed by Jang Sung Thaek’s fraction. I would wait another few months before sending any kind of proposals to North Korean officials. If my first channel of communication would have be a North Korean embassy, I may note that a lot of North Korean ambassadors were dismissed (such as the Pak Kwang Chol, the former DPRK representative to Sweden,…). You may contact those are still in place.
I would also especially wait in the tourism sector because a lot of officials who were involved in this sector were also highly connected to Jang Sung Thaek (a lot of officials of the North Korean Ministry of Tourism) were chosen by Jang himself.
I also believe that the ousting of Jang Sung Thaek has highly jeopardize the Investment rating in North Korea because Jang was a synonym of stability in North Korea. For me, North Korea without Jang Sung Thaek is no more the same North Korea as before. It’s a country where nobody can feel safe even those who personally take care of Kim Jong Eun during his youth in Europe.
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