Last week, the DPRK announced new special economic zones (6 appears to be the number reported, though we were told 7 last week by an official). It was widely covered in Chinese media, an example of which is below. Interestingly, the only commentary provided in this piece is from a South Korean scholar, who goes unnamed.
North Korea newly open up several economic zones to attract foreign investment and stimulate development
From: China News
According to various foreign media, on July 23th the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly established a decree declaring that the decision to set up several economic zones in Pyongyang, South Hwanghae, Nampo, South Pyongan and North Pyongan has been made.
As reported, the DPRK plans to set up a high technology development zone in Pyongyang, a international green demonstration zone in South Hwanghae, a industrial and agriculture development zone in South Pyongan, a touristic zone in North Pyongan, and an export processing zone in Nampo. Thus, the number of North Korean economic zones will increase to 19.
Last year in November, the DPRK government designated 13 economic zones, including the Yalu River Economic Zone, Sinpyong Touristic Zone, Manpo Economic Zone, etc.
Furthermore, North Korea also decided to rename the “Sinuiju Special Economic Zone” in North Pyongan to the “Sinuiju International Economic Zone”. Last month, North Korea subsumed the Joint Venture and Investment Committee with National Economic Development Committee into the Ministry of Trade, and also renamed “the Ministry of Trade” as “the Ministry of External Economy”, and thus achieved the integration of ways to attract foreign capitals.
A professor in the Institute of Far Eastern Studies from Kyungnam University said that North Korean actions reflect the purpose of using economic zones to develop economy, and renaming the Sinuiju Economic Zone means to give the initiative to foreign companies and improve the level of development.
Research and Translation by Wang Xing Yu