SEOUL, KOREA --- After the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was announced, news media, governments and companies around the world reported and commented on the news.
The KOTRA collected such information through its worldwide network.
The U.S. news media worried about the instability of the Kim Jong-un regime and North Korea’s military provocation. The Wall Street Journal predicted that there was a bigger possibility that the North Korean regime would collapse compared to 1994 when Kim Il-sung died. Not only did the New York Times reported a possibility of North Korea’s military provocation against South Korea, but also the Financial Times hinted at a possibility of Kim Jong-un’s provocation against South Korea. The U.S. government emphasized the need for stability on the Korean peninsula and a peace power transfer in North Korea.
In China, the Chinese news media including the Phoenix network reported that Chinese experts had various opinions about who would come to power but there was a stronger possibility that North Korea would take measures for reforms and openness. “It is difficult to predict changes in the relationship between South and North Korea before a transfer of power is finalized", said the Phoenix Network of China. The China Daily forecast that the death of Kim Jong-il will have a negative impact on the trade between North Korea and China in the short term (one or two months).
Meanwhile in Russia, the news media including the Moscow Times predicted that there would be no big change both in North Korea and the relationship between North Korea and Russia. The Russian government expressed condolence on the death of Kim Jong-il.
In Japan, the Japanese news media such as NHK reported that Japan was worried about the transition in North Korea and possible instability.
Most buyers, investors and companies doing business with Korea said that there is no influence of Kim’s death on their businesses in Korea.
Harbor Pacific Capital of the U.S. said that they considered North Korean threats against South Korea every time they consider investing in Korea and evaluate Korean companies.
Rex Kara GmbH, a home supersonic massage machine company, said that the death of the North Korean leader will not have any impact on its deals with Korea. Zeina Trading, an automobile company in Syria is planning to dispatch engineers to Korea for an educational program in January of next year as scheduled. “We have not received any notice from our headquarters in the U.S. and expect no special reactions from it,” Pfizer Korea said.
“Once Russia criticized North Korea as the worst Stalinist country," said Yevgeny Kim, a senior researcher at the Fast East Asian Research Institute in Russia. “Yet, the cooperation between North Korea and Russia has been maintained. Russia is ready to cooperate with any regimes.”
In Japan, NHK, TBS and Yomiuri Newspaper expressed a sense of unease while saying that the current situation where North Korea needs a transfer of power in a short period of time was different from the case where Kim Jong-il gained power after the death of Kim Il-sung.
Focus Magazine of Germany reported that due to the death of Kim Jong-il, efforts of the U.S and other countries may prove fruitless. “In particular, the Obama Administration may postpone making decisions on the resumption of the talks on nuclear weapons between the U.S. and North Korea,” the magazine quoted one of the US government officials.
In Switzerland, headlines of major daily newspapers such as NZZ and Tages Anzeiger were on the death of Kim Jong-il. They added that Kim Jong-un went to a public school in the suburb of Bern from 1998 to 2000.
In Austria, major daily newspapers printed interviews with Ruediger Frank, a professor of East Asian economy and society at the University of Vienna and deputy head of the Department of East Asian Studies. Prof. Frank said that there was a strong possibility that North Korea would adopt a collective leadership system around Kim Jong-un. The professor added that he could not rule out a possibility of a popular revolt as the situation in North Korea was so dire, for example, a shortage of food.
In Australia, the Financial Review reported that there was a possibility of a power struggle between Kim Jong-un and the North Korean military. The Australian reported that a tension on the Korean peninsula was raised.
Foreign governments voiced their opinions about the death of the North Korean leader.
The U.S. government announced that stability on the Korean peninsula was a top priority. President Obama reconfirmed the importance of stability in the Korean peninsula and the alliance between South Korea and the U.S. He also confirmed that the U.S will continue its close cooperation with South Korea while closely watching the situation in the future. U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton emphasized the upmost importance on the peaceful power transfer in North Korea. Hillary Clinton met with the Japanese Foreign minister and emphasized that the common goal of the U.S and Japan is peace and stability in the Korean peninsula.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made a call to U.S. State Secretary Hillary Clinton and Kim Sung-hwan, minister of foreign affairs and trade. “China will pursue the development of its relationships with South Korea and the U.S. by strengthening conversation and cooperation with the two nations”, Yang said. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev sent a letter of condolence to North Korea after the death of Kim Jong-il. The recipient of the letter was Kim Jong-un, a member of the National Funeral Committee of North Korea.
In Japan, Prime Minister Noda convened the National Security Meeting after the death of the North Korean leader and went on a special alert. Prime Minister Noda emphasized the significance of efforts to collect information. The Japanese government announced that there still are kidnapped Japanese citizens living in North Korea and it would do its best to bring them home.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé emphasized that the French government would closely watch effects from a transfer of power to Kim Jong-un. Juppé hoped that the North Korean people would regain freedom. Juppé also emphasized that the talks between North Korea and relevant countries should continue.
No effects on the global financial market were shown.
On December 20, the U.S. stock market rose thanks to an increase in expectation about a recovery in the U.S housing market. The Dow Index and the S&P 500 Index rose 2.8% and 2.7%, respectively from a day before. No special thing happened to the stock and foreign exchange markets of China after the death of Kim Jong-il was known on December 20. “As North Korea is a small economy and the death of Kim is a personal matter, its impact is limited compared to the September 11 Attack and its impact is small to industries in China,” said a Chinese stock market analyst.
On December 20, the Hang Seng Index began at 18,044 points and closed at 18,103 points in Hong Kong. According to those working at financial and investment companies in Hong Kong, the financial industry in Hong Kong did not react sensitively to the death of Kim as political instability in the Korean peninsula and a possibility of North Korea’s provocation against South Korea have always been latent.
As the Russian stock market rose 1.67% on December 20, Russian stock market experts predicted that Kim's death would hardly affect the market. In France, the CAC40 Index is up 2.17% as of 3:50 pm on December 20. The Euro-dollar exchange rate moved as in normal times. The Nikkei stock average in Japan closed at 8,336.48 yen, up 40.36 yen from a day earlier.
Harbor Pacific Capital added that the death of Kim will not affect its investment polices about Korean companies. A U.S. vessel module manufacturer said that the company was planning to report its investment in Korea to receive funds to build a factory in Gunsan from its headquarters in the U.S. The manufacturer added that it would not change its investment plan in spite of the death of the North Korean leader.
The Office for the Zhengzhou Economic Development of China said that although Kim’s death was unexpected, the office will hold briefing sessions to induce foreign capital and will dispatch its officials to South Korea to promote South Korean companies' investment in the zone. Jinhangtong, a food and medical product company in Qingdao of China said that the company will not change its business with South Korea.
Hyundai Corporation in China said that the company judged that Kim’s death will not affect its trade with Chinese companies. The company added that it was carrying out internal monitoring but would not change its business structure. The Chinese office of Korean Air said that Korean Air was strengthening its security activities for airplanes and airports on its own. The company added that there was no change in the number of passengers between South Korea and China after the news is delivered.
Highland Electronics Co., Ltd is a LED product company in Taiwan. “The political change in North Korea has had no big impact on our business with South Korean companies. We do not have any plans to change our business with them," said an employee at Highland Electronics Co.,Ltd.
VEOLIA produces materials for new and renewable energy facilities in France. The French company said that it did not expect any big aftermath of Kim’s death even though its business was hardly hit by the economic slump sweeping Europe.
Shilla Travel is a travel service agency in the Netherlands. This travel agency is specialized in taking tours of South and North Korea. The company said that its North Korean tour package was getting popular and 40 to 50 customers applied for the tour package of North Korea to see Arirang Performance next October. The company added that it had not received any inquires about the tour program or calls to cancel their reservations in relation with the death of the North Korean leader.
Neha Auto Spareparts LLC is an auto parts company in the UAE. The company said that it was watching the won-dollar exchange rate and asked a Korean exporting company to lower prices as the Korean company obtained exchange gain. Daewoo International’s Corporation in Saudi Arabia said that its employees met many local buyers about ongoing projects and export deals and received personal questions about Kim's death from them. The company expected no change in its business plan.
KISAN is a company which manufactures soundproof walls in Turkey. The company said that they knew about Kim’s death through media reports and would visit South Korea from December 20 to 23 as scheduled. Abelino is an auto dealer in Santo Domingo of the Dominican Republic. The company predicted that Kim's death would have a smaller impact than the Cheonan battle ship incident and North Korea's attack on Yeonpyeong Island. GM-Uzbekistan is an auto company in Uzbekistan. The company said that it would import vehicles from South Korea as planned and expected no change in its business due to the death of the North Korean leader.
Riverside is a child education company making investment in Korea. The company said that it had not received any inquiries from the U.S and expected that its headquarters in the U.S will ask them some questions about the situation in South Korea. Adixen Korea said that the company completed its investment in South Korea and received no reactions from its headquarters. The company added that there would be no change in their business as their big customers are Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductors.
15 Korean companies left Korea via Korean Air on December 19 to take part in the 2011 Bangkok Machinery Show (Dec. 21 to Dec. 24) in Thailand. They paid more attention to a possibility of war in the Korean peninsula than to the impact of Kim’s death on exports.