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Government Picks Businessmen for Summit

Posted September. 06, 2007 07:27,   


The chairmen or CEOs of four major enterprise groups, Vice Chairman Yun Jong-yong of Samsung Electronics, Chairman Chung Mong-gu of Hyundai Motor Company, Chairman Koo Bon-moo of LG Group, and Chairman Chey Tae-won of SK Group, will accompany President Roh Moo-hyun for the second inter-Korean summit slated for October 2-4 in Pyongyang.

Unlike initial expectations, however, presidents of major economic organizations such as President Cho Seok-rae of the Federation of Korean Industries, President Sohn Kyung-shik of The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and President Lee Su-yeong of the Korea Employers Federation, will not travel to Pyongyang on this occasion. Only President Kim Gi-mun of the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business, who also chairs Romanson, a company that produces wristwatches in the Gaesong Industrial Complex, visits North Korea as the president of the Federation of Enterprises in the Gaesong Industrial Complex.

During the first South-North summit in Pyongyang in 2000, ten business figures, including presidents of economic organizations, joined the delegation as representatives of the economic circle.

“We decided that 16 business figures will join the accompanying group to the summit,” said a government official on September 5. “Unlike during the first summit, the leaders of major economic organizations were excluded, and only those who are doing business in the North or have plans to invest there were embraced.”

Chairman Chung of Hyundai Motor Company, who has been passive toward business in North Korea for some years, will also visit Pyongyang for the first time. It was revealed that Hyundai Motor Company will participate in the project to modernize logistics in North Korea.

It is said that Chairman Chey of SK Group actively expressed his willingness to take part. SK believes that the development of energy and communications is vital for North Korea in its initial stages of economic growth, and is showing interest in relevant business fields.

From Samsung and LG, Vice Chairman Yun and Chairman Koo were among the members of the delegation to Pyongyang during the first summit.

Chairwoman Hyeon Jeong-eun of Hyundai Group will visit Pyongyang, too. During the first summit, the late Chairman Chung Mong-heon accompanied the visitors to North. As an enterprise that is carrying out a number of business projects in North Korea, such as the Mt. Geumgang tourism plan, Hyundai Group will again take part in various economic cooperation projects.

It also was revealed that the CEOs of 10 small and medium businesses that either are doing business in North Korea or are interested in investing in North Korea will join the group of visitors to the North.

Participating enterprises are already setting up detailed business plans in 30 economic cooperation themes in collaboration with the Cheong Wa Dae task force for the summit. Among the themes are ones requested by North Korea: the modernization of Port of Nampo and building roads and other facilities for tourism to Mt. Baekdu.

But Samsung and LG, whose main strong points are information technology, are having a difficult time selecting business items to address since the export of strategic goods to North Korea is prohibited.

“Most of the profitable business items are for small and medium enterprises, and it is highly likely that large enterprises will take part in big projects, such as the recovery of SOC in North Korea,” said an official from a large corporation.

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