Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Once upon a time in the East

So Vladimir Putin eventually passed by Seoul yesterday. His truncated meeting with PARK Geun-hye culminated in a MOU where a South Korean consortium (Hyundai Merchant Marine, POSCO, Korail) shall take almost half of Russia's 70% stake in RasonKonTrans. 

POSCO and Hyundai eye the port activities, Korail the DPRK-Russia railway between Rason/Rajin and Khasan, just across Tumangang, where the Chinese enclave along the Tumen River stops, an entry point to the Russian network and Vladivostok. This move could boost the projects, but at the same time synchronize them with the Kaesong clock, as a mainly intra-Korean affair. So from a Chinese point of view, more threats and opportunities... But if Russia manages to maintain the line with both Koreas on this one, hats off!

What suprises me most here is the fact that Russia could sell its stakes in a JV with North Korea. Didn't they need their consent, or was the initial DPRK-Russia agreement signed under the influence of vodka-soju poktanju? Or was the abandon of 5.24 measures the prerequisite?



Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il, Vladimir Putin, XXth Century Autocrats - SeoulVillage.com
"What, me worry?" - XXth Century Autocrats

Note that Russia and the ROK also signed an agreement on visas, which won't be needed for short term visits between both nations. Excellent for tourism (and certainly a boost for the future Incheon Vegas - see "Paradise City v. Sin City"), and all forms of business (mob-wise, Russia has some catching up to do with China). Expect more menus in Russian and Chinese in the Korean Riviera - Jeju.

Seoul Village 2013
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