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Donald Kirk

Stories from Donald Kirk

hyundai car

Hyundai Engineering & Construction: Returning to Hyundai with Motor Group

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Hyundai Engineering and Construction, the original company of the mighty Hyundai empire, is about to enter a new phase of its history as Korea’s biggest builder, both at home and abroad.

It is now emerging from under the grip of the creditor banks that took it over after the 1997-1998 financial crisis, and returning to the Hyundai fold.

Obama and Lee

Obama-Hu Summit Gets South, North Korea Talking Again

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

First comes the crisis, then the talks. The routine is so familiar it’s hard to generate confidence in Seoul from dialogue with North Korea.

All that’s sure is that North Korea, right after U.S. President Barack Obama hosted China’s President Hu Jintao at the White House on January 19, requested a meeting of North and South Korean defense ministers, and South Korea at once accepted.

Chung Ju-yung

Hyundai Endures as Worldwide Brand

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

The Korean economic miracle said as much about Korea’s rise from the devastation of the Korean War as it did about rising pressure for democratic reform.

In Seoul for USA Today, writing about the 1988 Olympics, I had another mission in mind, that of a book about Korea’s leading business empire, one of the “engines” of the miracle. The result was Korean Dynasty: Hyundai and Chung Ju Yung, published in 1994 by M..E. Sharpe in New York and Asia2000 in Hong Kong.


The KORUS FTA Thrills Proponents, Awaits Ratification in U.S. and Korea

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Advocates of the controversial Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement toasted in the New Year with joy and relief as if the compromise finally and firmly endorsed by the presidents of the United States and the Republic of Korea was a dream come true, a holiday gift to cheer and celebrate.

seoul summit 2010

Business Leaders Face Future at Summit

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

The Seoul “Group of 20” Business Summit, a gathering of tycoons from around the world, has provided a framework for revitalizing global business at a time of increased economic tensions and fears.

China-North Korea Friendship Tower

Crisis on the Korean Peninsula

Friday, January 28th, 2011

The idyllic life on once-prosperous Yeonpyeong Island, enriched by the plentiful fish and crabs swarming the embracing waters of the Yellow Sea, may be gone forever.

king sejong

Currency Wars – The Fighting Goes On

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama’s whirlwind tour through Asia reached a crescendo at the Group of 20 world leaders in Seoul on Nov. 11-12 at which he exercised his best oratorical skills to explain away an unmistakable sense of disappointment.

north korea relief

North Korea's Heir to the Throne - Out of the Closet and on Display

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

In the space of a few hours, North Korea opened a new chapter in the turbulent history of the Korean peninsula.

The new leader is a young man named Kim Jong-eun, the choice of his father, the Dear Leader Kim Jong-il, who’s survived longer than most people thought possible after suffering a stroke in August 2008 but has to have had intimations of mortality.

Curtain Closes on G20 summit in Seoul with Failure to Reach Solid Agreement on Slashing the “Currency Imbalances"

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

G20 leaders failed Friday to reach a solid agreement on slashing the “currency imbalances” that are partly responsible for the United States’ trillion-dollar deficit in foreign trade. They did, however, agree on measures to increase the influence of emerging-market countries.The “leaders’ declaration” that emerged from the two-day summit in Seoul implied both criticism and respect for China’s emergence as the world’s second largest economic power after the US – though the declaration did not mention any country by name.

Korea-USA Fail to Seal Trade Deal

Friday, November 12th, 2010

President Obama has failed to overcome obstacles to a free trade agreement with South Korea, as he and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak stumbled Thursday over disputes on American beef and motor vehicle exports to Asia's fourth-largest economy.Mr. Obama, after a long working lunch with Mr. Lee on the sidelines of the G20 summit, emerged to say the United States will be working “tirelessly in the coming weeks days and weeks” to reach final agreement with Korea on a deal that was negotiated and signed in the waning months of the presidency of George W.

Obama Under Fire as G20 Talks Open

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Barack Obama, the US president, faces a turbulent time trying to defuse potentially explosive trade and currency issues at the Group of 20 (G20) summit today.Mr Obama was forced to leave the Indonesian capital Jakarta ahead of schedule yesterday to avoid the ash plume from the erupting volcano Mount Merapi.Arriving in Seoul, the US president was widely criticised over his country's quantitative easing policy.

G20 plaza

G20 in Seoul: The Search for Consensus

Monday, November 1st, 2010

The noise-making of demonstrators from outside the tall security fence surrounding the venue of the summit of leaders of the world’s 20 most important economic powers in November will probably not be heard by the summiteers meeting inside the spacious Convention and Exhibition Center in Seoul’s high priced, highrise Gangnam district, south of the Han River that bisects the capital.


Amnesty International Condemns North Korean Rights Violations

Friday, October 1st, 2010

While the North Korean government maintains that it’s committed to “providing for the basic needs of its people and satisfying their right to food and a proper standard of health,” says the report, testimonies of those interviewed “suggest otherwise.” North Koreans “suffer significant deprivation in their enjoyment of the right to adequate health care,” the report goes on, blaming “failed or counterproductive government policies” for “systematic failure to p

north korea money

Economic Reforms in N. Korea

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

North Korea is slowly recognizing certain harsh imperatives in the wake of economic reforms that backfired late last year. In a People’s Paradise, capitalism is a necessary evil and certain reforms are unavoidable.


Sudip Banerjee, CEO , L&T Infotech Man with a Mission and a Vision

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Sudip Banerjee was appointed L&T Infotech’s Chief Executive Officer in September 2008 to improve competitiveness and steer the company to new heights. Banerjee joined L&T Infotech from Wipro Technologies where he was president of enterprise solutions.

ready to wow

Korea Says its Ready to Wow G-20 Powers

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Remember the 1988 Seoul Olympics? They put South Korea on the map as a global force that had risen from the ashes of the Korean War and 35 years after the signing of the armistice in 1953, was ready to step into the international spotlight for all the world to marvel over its accomplishments.


View Across the DMZ on Korean Peninsula:

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

On a brilliant sunny day, at an observation post atop a wooded hill called Dorasan, 40 miles north of Seoul, vehicles were seen moving along a two-lane highway across the Demilitarized Zone into North Korea.

vietnam tank

Vietnam's Revolution Revisited Capitalism Amid Socialism

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

The diminutive president of Vietnam, Nguyen Minh Triet, was on the reviewing stand greeting high-level well-wishers after the big reunification day parade in Ho Chi Minh City. In the absence of Vietnam Communist Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, Triet was the central figure on hand to lend top-level dignity to a three-hour review of history as reenacted on the 35th anniversary of “the fall” of the ancien regime of old “South” Vietnam.


South Korean Nuclear Energy Program

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

North Korea gets the headlines with sensational reports on its nuclear weapons program, but South Korea also is a nuclear power. The difference is that South Korea’s four nuclear complexes produce nuclear energy, not nuclear explosives, and South Korea is well on its way to emerging as one of the world’s biggest manufacturers and exporters of nuclear reactors. South Korea’s success as a major producer of nuclear energy, however, inevitably arouses suspicions.

north korea

North Korea: Difficult Questions Hard Diplomacy

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

You would have to believe in miracles to think that North Korea would ever give up its nuclear weapons program. That’s the view of a distinguished professor from China who talks with an air of authority that seems to reflect an insider’s understanding of what’s really going on in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.


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