Development kicks off in DPRK’S Sinuiju special economic zone

Institute for Far Eastern Studies
NK Brief No. 07-8-7-1
2007-8-7

According to a recent report from a North Korean insider, the border city of Sinuiju, in North Pyongan Province, was redesignated as a ‘Special Economic Zone’ in the first part of this year, and accordingly, full-fledged city development has been underway since last June, including the relocation to the city of 3000 families from Pyongyang.

The “NK Chosun” reported that this development was revealed by a North Korean official during a meeting with an associate in Dandong while on a recent visit to China. The official was quoted as stating, “Pyongyang citizens are being temporarily transferred to Sinuiju because they are ideologically prepared.” The official went on to share that the Pyongyang residents being moved to Sinuiju are the laborers that will work in the industrial zone, state security officials, police, and their families.

According to the associate in Dandong, “due to rumors of the relocation of Pyongyang residents, real estate prices in the Sinuiju area are skyrocketing.” While DPRK authorities are instituting a plan to relocate Pyongyang residents to Sinuiju, at the same time 3000 Sinuiju families are being banished from the city. Rumor has it that Sinuiju police and security forces have begun identifying residents with problematic blood lines and those considered to have ideological problems and announcing lists of ‘purgees’.

Even as large scale aggregate gathering at the mouth of the Yalu River is growing, all residents living in the vicinity of the Sinuiju train station were removed and barbed wire and dirt walls were set up around the outskirts of the area following its designation as a ‘Special Economic Zone’.

One DPRK source in Dandong stated, “The past plan for the Sinuiju Special Economic Zone promoted by Chinese [businessman] Yang Bin aimed to make money through a casino and entertainment facilities, but this time, according to the directives of Chairman of the National Defense Commission Kim Jong Il, a city is to be constructed that can fulfill the role of Kaesong Industrial Complex as well as Rajin-Sunbong .”

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