James Pearson, author of North Korea Confidential, talks about DPRK’s economic transformation and what it means for regional stability

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Date(s) - Saturday, March 12 2016
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm



As North Korea once again looms in the headlines, rattling its nuclear saber, the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking nothing has changed. However, in fact the country has quietly changed beyond recognition despite its well-maintained bellicose propaganda façade. As the country heads toward its party congress in May –  one of the factors behind the recent nuclear and rocket tests –  North Korea’s government is focused on how to make money – an increasingly complicated issue thanks to the gradual development of a nascent capitalism that now helping hold the impoverished country together. New trends include the increased use of grey market currency rates to price goods in state-ran shops and markets, and a growing pool of venture capitalists now funding a country-wide construction boom. Journalist, author and North Korea expert James Pearson visits Shanghai to give the Shanghai FCC an exclusive talk on the changing DPRK economy, what it means for DPRK’s neighbors and the for rest of the world.

James Pearson is a correspondent for the Reuters news agency in Seoul, where he covers North and South Korea. He holds a BA in Chinese and Korean from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and a Master’s of Philosophy in Oriental Studies from the University of Cambridge. His book, North Korea Confidential, focuses on daily life under the autocratic regime and was billed as one of the best books of 2015 by the Economist. The book explains the importance of the famine of the 1990s, which, although devastating, was an important catalyst that paved the way to a nascent form of free capitalism, which holds today’s North Korea together.

Venue: Kartel
Entry via Fifth Floor, 1 Xiangyang lu, near Julu Lu, Jingan district
Time: Saturday, March 12th 4pm – 6pm (doors open at 4pm, event starts at 4.30pm)
Price: 50RMB SFCC members; 150RMB non-members
Price includes two drinks and canapés


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