It seems like all of the American media is focusing on the Richardson/Schmidt trip to North Korea instead of how Pyongyang has reportedly enlisted German economists and lawyers to lay the groundwork for foreign investment. In other words, North Korea may be getting ready to finally open up.
Details are still sketchy, but one economist involved in the dealings has confirmed the existence of a "master plan" for North Korea to open its economy as soon as later this year. And interestingly enough, he signals a lean towards the Vietnamese economic model, which allowed specific companies to be recipients of foreign investment, instead of the special economic zoning model of close ally China. For econ geeks out there, that's a pretty juicy update if true.
Who knows how accurate this news is, but there are two elements that make this development pretty compelling. One, we're talking about economists and lawyers from Germany--a country that knows a thing or two about opening up a closed off economy amid reunification. And secondly, this foreign investment news certainly affords a new perspective on Gov. Richardson's and Eric Schmidt's humanitarian trip to North Korea. I don't mean that their trip's purpose isn't to bring back the recently arrested Korean American held there, but I wonder how much more is going on considering a Google executive is on North Korean soil during rumors of opening up to foreign investment.