North Korea has speeded up efforts to develop its northwestern industrial city of Sinuiju, bordering China, as a special economic zone in a bid to expand economic cooperation with its communist ally.
The move comes as North Korea is cutting off economic ties with its capitalist neighbor, South Korea, and moving to close down their joint tour and industrial projects, which served as a channel for the impoverished country to learn about the free market economy.
North Korea has recently accelerated its project to develop Sinuiju as a special economic zone, Seoul’s Yonhap News Agency
said, citing sources in Beijing.
The agency also quoted border traders with North Korea as saying that work is underway to build new buildings and facilities in the border city.
The recent visit to Sinuiju by the North’s ailing leader, Kim Jong Il, is part of the effort to develop the border city.
Kim, thought to have suffered a stroke in August, made ‘on-the-spot’ guided tours of machinery and soap-making factories in Sinuiju, according to Pyongyang’s news reports.
The report seems aimed at showing that the 66-year-old leader is healthy enough to make the long journey to the border city, some 500 kilometers from Pyongyang. Since the stroke, his reported public activities were all around Pyongyang.
Source: UPI Asia
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