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Games children play

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By Chang Se-moon

Recent summits and negotiations among leaders of South Korea, North Korea, and the United States reminded me of my work as a forensic economist.

During summer of 2005, Hurricane Katrina that destroyed many cities and towns in Mississippi and Louisiana also damaged numerous properties in Alabama.

One of the properties negatively affected by Katrina was a luxurious condominium that suffered a significant delay in construction. Buyers who had signed purchase contracts at the time of Katrina demanded developers to pay for the delay, while developers claimed force majeure.

Force majeure means superior force in French. A "force majeure" clause is usually included in a contract that would relieve the parties from performing their contractual obligations when certain circumstances beyond their control arise.

Controversy arises from what constitutes force majeure. Whatever it is, it has to be significant enough for one party to claim that it is impossible to carry out contractual agreement. There is no way for both parties to agree what is meant by being possible or impossible, enabling one party to claim force majeure.

The key is to work on agreements........

© The Korea Times