Kim Jong-il has visited a free economic trade zone in the northern port city of Rason. This was his first inspection of the area since it was designated a free economic zone in December 1991.
Because of logistics the northeastern provinces have stumbled as the rest of China gallops forward.
To the left, is Russia, and to the right, North Korea. It’s not for lack of manpower or know-how that the northeast has lagged behind. Rather, it is logistics: restricted transportation routes.
China’s border here is just 16 kilometers from the Sea of Japan, meaning anything produced in these upper regions must be transported down to the major port cities in China and then shipped around the Korean Peninsula unless it can go by North Korea..
Rason International Logistics, a joint China-North Korea venture company, won the right to use Rajin Port in Rason, on North Korea’s northeast coast, for five decades. Now North Korea is actively supporting the area and with Kim Jong-il putting his personal stamp of approval on the area matters may now move more quickly.