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North Korea: Open for Business?

As the guillotine of debt contagion hangs over Europe, financial pressures in Asia have led an unexpected player to make a strategic shift. After months of escalating tensions with South Korea have shuttered its opportunities for expanded trade southwards, Pyongyang has turned north, launching several high-profile initiatives to secure Chinese and Russian participation in new trade and investment schemes, and firm up the two countries’ support for Kim Jong Il’s succession plans.

With Pyongyang fast-tracking these projects at the highest levels, it’s now a serious question whether this marks the beginning of the end for North Korea’s economic isolation and a major step towards the creation of a transnational northeast shipping hub with the potential to rival the export power of the Yangtze Delta region. Joining host Jeremy Goldkorn to talk about what this means for China watchers are three of the smartest observers of the East Asian security situation today: Edward Wong from The New York Times, Alexa Olesen from the Associated Press, and Stephanie Kleine-Ahlbrandt from the International Crisis Group. With all three freshly back from a fact-finding mission to North Korea, join us on Sinica today for some candid discussion about what is happening on the ground, along with some scintillating gossip on the latest tourist opportunity for the Wenzhou investment class: luxury boat cruises along the North Korean coast.

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Business, Politics