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(Yonhap Interview) CEO of Gale International hints at investing in N. Korea

All Headlines 16:30 August 22, 2018

By Kim Kwang-tae

INCHEON, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- The head of Gale International, a U.S. real estate development and investment company, has suggested that the company may invest in North Korea if sanctions are lifted and other conditions are met.

Chairman and CEO Stan Gale said he would like to take his team to North Korea in the future, and expressed a wish to host North Koreans in Songdo to show them what a future city could look like in North Korea.

"When things settle out and if invited, of course I would, much like I was invited to South Korea, if I were invited to North Korea, of course we'd love to help," Gale said Tuesday in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at his office in Songdo in the western port city of Incheon.

"I think there is unlimited opportunity for North Korea."

Stan Gale, chairman and CEO of Gale International, speaks during an interview with Yonhap News Agency at his office in Songdo, in the western port city of Incheon on Aug. 21, 2018. (Yonhap)

North Korea is under tightened U.N. sanctions, as well as separate U.S. sanctions, over its nuclear tests and its long-range rocket launches, measures that bar foreign investment in the isolated country.

The U.S. has said that there will be no sanctions relief until Pyongyang has taken credible steps toward denuclearization.

"If in the future everything is smoothed away, would we? Of course. We'd love to be helpful. We'd love to offer what we've learned, in any way to bring the peninsula together," Gale said.

Gale is credited with having helped transform Songdo -- reclaimed land slightly smaller in area than Manhattan -- into a fledging international city with its local partner, POSCO Engineering & Construction Co. (POSCO E&C), an affiliate of South Korea's largest steelmaker, POSCO.

This photo taken on Aug. 21, 2018 shows high-rise buildings in Songdo, in the western port city of Incheon (Yonhap)

The two sides set up a joint venture, called the New Songdo International City Development, in 2002, to develop Songdo's International Business District, which is about the size of downtown Boston.

In 2003, South Korea designated Songdo as part of the Incheon Free Economic Zone that Seoul is seeking to turn into a business hub in Northeast Asia.

Songdo is home to foreign educational institutions, including the Chadwick International School and the State University of New York, Korea, as well as the Green Climate Fund, a U.N. fund for low-emission, climate-resilient development.

Gale also said he is optimistic about the resumption of the project with POSCO E&C this year, though they have "a slightly different philosophy" on development.

The CEO said he pursues inspirational buildings for each site in the city and does not like to build old-style, cookie-cutter structures.

"I feel it will be resolved, and I have reasons for feeling that way," Gale said, without elaborating. "I just feel there's greater forces at work where POSCO and Gale will complete the project together."


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