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  #61  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by wazcaster View Post
Seriously though, I doubt any company would invest in North Korea
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Originally Posted by vwwolfe View Post
http://ifes.kyungnam.ac.kr/eng/m05/s...efNO=207&GoP=1
Orascom has publicized significant investment plans for North Korea in the last twelve months. Orascom Telecom Holding announced on January 30 of this year that it had been granted the first-ever commercial license to provide WCDMA 3G technology-based cellular service to North Korea, and put forth plans to invest 400 million USD to create a nationwide infrastructure.
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  #62  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 12:16 PM
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North Korea is getting 3G technology? Yeah, right. Or will the dictatorship force the people to be customers?

A $400 million investment to boost infrastructure would be pointless and would never, ever earn any money. The only vehicles are a handful of busses in P'yongyang and various military vehicles. The roads are often empty and any attempt at building a train system would be pointless as nobody would be allowed to use it.
The whole story sounds like a load of crap, unless Orascom has been taken over by Kim Jong Il. No investment in North Korea would ever make any money back, so I seriously doubt that Orascom would invest that much in upgrading the DPRK's 'infrastructure'. Also, isn't building and maintaining a nation's infrastructure generally the government's job (even if it is outsourced to private companies)?
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  #63  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 12:57 PM
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You're making a whole lot of assumptions there based on nothing but your own prejudice. What do you really know about people being "allowed" to use a public train system in North Korea or not? Have you been there yourself checking it out? What do you really know about North Korea at all?

Let's just see how this one plays out. If investment is indeed flowing into NK it would be great news for the country. Isolating the nation even more than it has been for decades isn't going to make it better.
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  #64  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 1:53 PM
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Originally Posted by staff View Post
You're making a whole lot of assumptions there based on nothing but your own prejudice. What do you really know about people being "allowed" to use a public train system in North Korea or not? Have you been there yourself checking it out? What do you really know about North Korea at all?
I've not been there yet, but I'm going to go there, so I've been reading about the trips people have had there and it sounds like it is really repressive and generally not a nice place to live. There was also an undercover documentary on the TV quite a while back that I saw.
Also, I use my common sence. The place is not far from bankruptcy, so why would anybody have cars (especially in this period of oil prices topping £65 a barrel and the prices at the pumps going sky high)? When I say "allowed" (which was sarcasm, by the way), I mean economically as well as politically.
Looking at other communist regimes and the sort of things the people were banned from buying in those nations (people were not allowed to buy mobiles or PCs in Cuba, for example, until Fidel gave up power) its a fairly safe bet to say that North Korea's regime is at least as bad.

I dont have any predjudices about any nations (unlike the American media and the British tabloids, whom I ignore) and I generally like to find things out for myself.
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  #65  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 1:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FLBlake View Post
Let's keep in mind here, why this nutjob has isolated his country. He's done by his own choice. This isn't something the "evil" western world has done to be mean. This genocidal midget has isolated himself.
The NK government has seemingly not exactly been open to the world the last decades, but if it is opening up and investment indeed is flowing into the country, then it is something that should be supported!
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  #66  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 2:11 PM
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The NK government has seemingly not exactly been open to the world the last decades, but if it is opening up and investment indeed is flowing into the country, then it is something that should be supported!
I agree 110% percent. For the good of the people of that nation this should be looked at as a positive. As minor as it may be this hotel can be a small step in improving NK and bringing them into the world.
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  #67  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 3:19 PM
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^but the whole, "North Korea has isolated themselves from the rest of the world" is just another baseless assumption.

This is a widely known fact. Please, produce evidence to the contrary.

What is also a widely known fact, is that the people of NK are among the most brutalized people in the world. Human rights organizations worldwide have cited horrible acts of violence, rape, torture, etc., against the people of NK by it's own dictatorship.

But, by golly, I hope they good cell coverage.
     
     
  #68  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 4:01 PM
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Me too. It is obvious that it is the government that has shut the country completely from foreign influences. That been said, it has its explanations - the division of Korea, and all. Look at Vietnam which is seeing a similar development to China today. Had it been divided after the war (like Korea), North Vietnam would probably have been as isolated as NK is today. Communist regimes that are free from foreign invasions and trade embargos (China, Sovjet, Post-war Vietnam etc.) tend to dissolve themselves over time. The ones that have been victims of such involvement (Korea, Cuba) tend to uphold the status quo and isolate.

Economic trade and cultural exchange is the way to go, and should be promoted.
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  #69  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 5:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wazcaster View Post
North Korea is getting 3G technology? Yeah, right. Or will the dictatorship force the people to be customers?

A $400 million investment to boost infrastructure would be pointless and would never, ever earn any money. The only vehicles are a handful of busses in P'yongyang and various military vehicles. The roads are often empty and any attempt at building a train system would be pointless as nobody would be allowed to use it.
The whole story sounds like a load of crap, unless Orascom has been taken over by Kim Jong Il. No investment in North Korea would ever make any money back, so I seriously doubt that Orascom would invest that much in upgrading the DPRK's 'infrastructure'. Also, isn't building and maintaining a nation's infrastructure generally the government's job (even if it is outsourced to private companies)?
uh dude, if you read the release again, you'll note that the "infrastructure" to which you are referring is the cdma/3g infrastructure, it has nothing to do with trains or roads.

and far more interesting than the discussions of the dprk's political arrangements (which are obviously bad) or the state of the hotel's concrete (probably standard grade, quite a bit worse for wear after 16 years of exposure) is the nature of the deal with orascom.

in sum, orascom appears to be a pretty weird company. the principles (the sawiris family) have been linked to the elf scandal, adnan kashoggi and the oil-for-food scandal, and they're currently under investigation in the wind spa corruption scheme. the other places orascom has phone operations are algeria, pakistan, egypt, tunisia, iraq, bangladesh and zimbabwe - basically a rogues gallery of nations with brutal and/or highly corrupt leadership. orascom consistently get into emerging markets with poor governance structures, suggesting a comfort with these environments, a fact that further suggests a business model based on close regime ties (is there any other way to do business in these places?).

here's a question: how does an egyptian company with ties to loads of brutal regimes get involved in a place like the dprk? i mean, how does a group like this even get their foot in the door with the world's most insular and difficult regimes, let alone come to occupy such diverse businesses as concrete, hotels and telecom? here's pretty plausible (but entirely speculative) answer: either black market trading or arms dealing. my guess is that the mysterious source of the sawiris' pre-telecom wealth is something quite a bit more familiar to the north korean government than cell phones. i think, fellow forumers, that we've been inadvertently introduced to someone who at least figures as a point man for north korean embargo-busting. i'm no dprk expert, but it seems to me that a company willing to invest upwards of a billion dollars in the dprk ($400+ million on phones, $200-300 million on the hotel, $200-300 million in other industries), with no obvious means to achieving profitability any time soon, and with a history of such investment in likewise dodgy countries, is getting something off the books.

as for the hotel, when i read that it was to be completed, i just couldn't believe it. what does it say about a regime that even now, 16 years after the work was abandoned, it would be willing to devote such precious resources to its completion.
     
     
  #70  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 5:18 PM
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"Let's just see how this one plays out. If investment is indeed flowing into NK it would be great news for the country. Isolating the nation even more than it has been for decades isn't going to make it better."

Though it would be nice, I would trust Kim Jong Il as much as the Junta that runs Myanmar with money. Point: Rough estimate of $125mil US has been pumped into assisting with the cyclone aid in Myanmar, yet the ruling junta is making those worst affected by the crisis work for their share of just the basics, stuff that is handed out for free in just about any other country.

The so where did the rest go? The junta took the rest. I have no doubt in my mind that Kim Jong Il will do the same with this influx of funds.

As far as permission to ride public transportation, HAVE YOU SEEN SATELLITE IMAGES OF NORTH KOREA???!?!?! Everything but the palace doesn't even have power at night. So where is the counterargument that people will be allowed to ride said system?! They aren't even afforded basic electricity.

But by golly if their AT&T phone won't have the most bars in northeaster Asia.

I'm done.
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  #71  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 5:59 PM
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flight from kamakura,
Interesting post!


DMILLSPHOTO,
That's yet another post based completely off your own prejudices. Keep it real.
And yes, I have seen satellite photos of North Korea, and I have several friends who have been to the country.


Anyway. Discuss the Ryugyong.
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  #72  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2008, 11:38 PM
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"IF" they do compete construction within the next decade, it will be a unique and........nice building. In regards to the "PREJUDICE" factor, NK has isolated itself from the rest of the world, excluding a few countries that NK buys weapons from.
Anyway, I have no idea how NK is getting foreign investment from other countries. NK really doesn't have much to offer. They are not very popular as a location to vacation to, or produce their own cars, weapons, or anything really, ect., ect.
I'm not trying to knock NK down, or insult anyone, but lets be realistic hear!!.... What we do know about NK comes from people who sneak out of the country, which I find amusing. Why would you have to sneak out of your own country?

I have to agrees with some people hear, lets just wait and see what happens..
     
     
  #73  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2008, 1:54 AM
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Please stick to the topic of the Ryugyong Hotel construction. If you feel like discussing the economic situation and politics of North Korea please do it so in the right forum.
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  #74  
Old Posted Jun 19, 2008, 3:57 AM
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Alas this thread is not going anywhere. . . if you have any definitive information that this building is in fact under construction please feel free to PM me and I'll re-open the thread. . .
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  #75  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2008, 3:39 PM
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Re-opened this thread after some news reports are coming in regarding construction. . .

Let's keep the discussion regarding the hotel and take any of your other comments to the appropriate forums. . . thanks in advance. . .
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  #76  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2008, 3:58 PM
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Really looks as if they were starting. Some pictures that were posted on SSC:

Looks like some sort of crane or elevator structure being erected. Also note the facade part in the middle:

by sarah_in_seoul, June 2008

In this picture the crane seems to have reached the round part at the top of the building. It's barely noticeable but you can see the red line go all the way to the top:


Last picture, different side of the builing. I think that green netting / scaffoling wasn't there before:

by (stephan) , June 11 2008
     
     
  #77  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2008, 4:08 PM
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I think it would've been a better building if the facade worked with the square window pattern, which really shows the enormous size of the building. However, if the whole thing is a gigantic glass pyramid, that would look hella impressive. That's a random spot for facade testing btw.
     
     
  #78  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2008, 4:13 PM
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I wonder if anyone bothered to do any structural testing on the concrete to see if it held up all these years.

I would be hesitant to set foot in this building if that was not the case.
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  #79  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2008, 5:26 PM
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The structure itself has been deemed unsafe due to the years of being exposed to the elements, and also the concrete used was not of high-end material. Alot of work would have to be done to stabalized the crumbling pyramid before any real work can be restarted, if it is even possible.
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  #80  
Old Posted Jul 18, 2008, 6:51 PM
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Quote:
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I think it would've been a better building if the facade worked with the square window pattern, which really shows the enormous size of the building. However, if the whole thing is a gigantic glass pyramid, that would look hella impressive. That's a random spot for facade testing btw.
I was thinking about this as well. I'm torn. I would have liked to see it completed using the window cut-outs as originally planned. But like you say, a big shard of glass (apologies to London) might look really cool too.
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