Col. James Young, a former official in the U.S. Department of Defense and adviser to five U.S. ambassadors to Korea, is to be the keynote speaker at the annual dinner of the Korea-Southeast U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, April 1. The dinner is to be held at the Georgia Power Co. auditorium and is to begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m.

Following his retirement from the U.S. Army in 1990 as principal embassy adviser to the U.S. ambassador in South Korea on military and political military affairs, Mr. Young formed JVY Pacific Associates, a consulting practice based in Pinehurst, N.C. In this position, he negotiated the first commercial agreement between North Korea and an American company since before the Korean War.

He describes his experiences in Korea in his book, Eye on Korea: An Insider Account of Korean-American Relations, which was published last year.

“The contract we negotiated with the North was a government-approved exception and came at a time when there was a brief thaw in relations,” he told GlobalFax in an email interview.

He said that at the moment U.S. companies are prohibited from trading with North Korea unless they have special permission from both the U.S. departments of State and Treasury.

Should the possibility for U.S. companies to invest in North Korea re-emerge, he said that the best manufacturing opportunities would be in joint ventures or strategic alliances with South Korean firms.

The cost of attending the dinner is $50. To make a reservation, call Simon H. Ahn or Katherine Park at (770) 396-6484.