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What Were the Enterprisers For?

Posted October. 06, 2007 05:39,   


Poor reception for the business figures who visited North Korea as special envoys to the 2007 inter-Korean summit is creating noise.

During the summit, Chairman Koo Bon-moo of LG Group, Chairman Chung Mong-koo of Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Chairman Chey Tae-won of SK Group, and Vice Chairman Yun Jong-yong of Samsung Electronics accompanied President Roh Moo-hyun as the representatives of Big Four enterprises, as did Chairman Lee Ku-taek of POSCO and Chairwoman Hyeon Jeong-eun of Hyundai Group as representatives of enterprises for economic cooperation.

But in the schedule of President Roh Moo-hyun, there was no room for them. They literally “accompanied” the president.

At the large-enterprise section conference held at the Grand People`s Study House in the morning of October 3, the business representatives stood in line in front of the signboard held by North Korean female guides. Soon after, they followed the guides into the conference room as elementary students would.

When the news was told that the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il suggested President Roh to prolong the summit for another day during the visit to Big Three industrial plants, business figures were unable to conceal their surprise.

When one of the chairpersons worried that he was “scheduled to travel to the U.S.,” Presidential Secretary Cha Seong-su relieved his anxiety, saying, “Special envoys will be able to return to Seoul as planned initially.”

For two nights and three days, the business figures held bags on their shoulders, were frequently inspected, followed schedules that were changed by North Korea, and went to restrooms under time-control by North Korea.

Some in the business circle said that the “disgrace of Moscow” was repeated. During President Roh’s visit to Russia in September 2004, business envoys including Chairman Lee Kun-hee of Samsung Group walked on pavements to avoid a traffic jam in order not to arrive late to an unofficial dinner attended by President Putin, but President Roh, who had arrived later than the scheduled time, departed the gathering leaving with only some words of encouragement.