This has to be the most unusual investor relations job in the world: Steve Park (as Park Il-woo is known in the US) has just inked a deal with North Korea to run tours to the Mount Kumgang resort. According to Yonhap News Agency, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that has been signed puts Park ‘in charge of marketing, investor relations and tourist recruitment for what is said to be the most scenic mountain on the [Korean] peninsula.’
While most IR professionals would consider this to be a rare and unique challenge, Park appears to be up to it. As president of Korea Pyongyang Trading USA, he has considerable experience working with North Korea. The company imports Pyongyang Soju, a North Korean liquor, into the US.
Park tells Yonhap News Agency: ‘(We) have long been pushing for the development of Mount Kumgang tourism. Last week, an official at the Pyongyang branch signed the MOU with the North Korean side at my instruction.’
This deal follows several years of difficulties over managing Mount Kumgang through an agreement with South Korea’s Hyundai Asan. The resort provided significant cash to North Korea, but the arrangement was terminated in 2008 when a North Korean soldier shot dead a tourist from Seoul. South Korean officials demanded an apology, and its northern neighbours say they will ‘deprive Hyundai of its exclusive right to the mountain tour project and seize all of its assets in the region.’
Park is staying quiet on the dispute.
Source: Yonhap News Agency