Now, I’ll repeat what I said earlier about the Ryugyong. I’d found it sort-of-cool actually when it was all exposed concrete. Admitedly, I have something of a hard-on for brutalist architecture, and the Ryugyong had that sinsiter, brutalist/Stalinist vibe in spades. Covered in glass, however, it loses all that vibe.
About 10 Coke and KFC officials, mostly headquarters guys and executives handling overseas projects, reportedly visited North Korea between July 5 an 9 at the invitation of the Daepung International Investment Group, a North Korean-led body set up to draw foreign investment in North Korea.
According to a source familiar with North Korea, they reportedly reached a final agreement to open up branches in Pyongyang.
The source told YTN that the branches would open this September or October.
YTN notes that North Korea’s decision to accept investment from said companies is seen as a sign that North Korea is fairly serious about opening up, given the companies’ status as symbols of international capital.
The YTN piece also notes that North Korea is also working to improve its relations with the overseas media, agreeing with AP to allow the latter to open a permanent bureau office in Pyongyang, followed by an agreement with Reuters on video content delivery.
All of this has some cautiously optimistic that North Korea might be transforming in a manner different from that of the past.
MARMOT’S NOTE: I’ll believe the Coke and KFC story when I see it actually happen.