August 15th, 2012 | China.org.cn China, DPRK meet on developing economic zones
China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) held the third meeting in Beijing Tuesday on developing two special economic zones in the DPRK, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced.
Officials from both sides agreed to strengthen the investment environment by accelerating their construction and implement policies to attract more foreign direct investment at the meeting of the joint steering committee for developing and managing the Rason Economic and Trade Zone and the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Islands Economic Zone, according to a press release issued by the ministry.
“Both sides reached the consensus that the cooperation in developing the two economic zones has yielded impressive results and entered the stage of substantial development,” the press release said.
The two sides have jointly compiled related plans that will contribute to new progress in establishing mechanisms, training personnel, compiling detailed plans, laws, and regulations, making customs clearance convenient, establishing telecom links, cooperating in agriculture fields, as well as building projects, according to the release.
The meeting, jointly presided over by Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and Jang Song Taek, chief of the central administrative department of the Korean Workers’ Party, was part of a six-day visit to China by the delegation led by Jang, which started on Monday.
The joint steering committee held its first meeting in November 2010 and the second meeting in June 2011.
The Rason Economic and Trade Zone is in northeastern DPRK’s city of Rason, which is adjacent to northeast China’s Jilin Province. The Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Islands Economic Zone is near the estuary of the Yalu River, a border river that runs between the two countries. Both are the subject of an agreement struck between Chinese President Hu Jintao and then DPRK leader Kim Jong-il during his official visit to Beijing in 2010.
The DPRK announced in June that foreigners would be allowed visa-free access to the Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa zone, along with tax breaks.
The ministry said on its website on Tuesday that the two sides have now agreed to develop the Rason zone into one of the DPRK’s most advanced manufacturing and logistics hubs, covering East and North Asia, and it will act as a regional tourism center, while the Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa islands zone will focus on the finance, economic and IT sectors.
According to the ministry, China’s investment in non-financial sectors in the DPRK had reached $300 million by the end of last year.
The DPRK’s total investment in China was $100 million, going to various industries including catering.