Haeju in N.K. seem playing bigger role

Korea Herald
Ko Kyoung-tae

South Korean experts yesterday called on the government to develop Haeju, a North Korean port which South and North Korean leaders recently agreed to develop as a special zone, into a business hub covering a wide array of industries, from fisheries to manufacturing.

Jeong Hyung-gon, an economist at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, recommended in a seminar yesterday that the special zone of Haeju should be transformed into a comprehensive economic zone so as to expand inter-Korean economic ties.

He cited several Chinese free economic zones as good models for the joint-development project. “It should be developed like Shenzhen or Dongguan,” Jeong said.

These two coastal cities have been locomotives of China’s red-hot economic growth since the Beijing administration opened them to the global economy in the late 1970s.

Jeong’s speech implies that North Korea should also substantially open Haeju to foreign investors, including South Korean companies.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il recently agreed to transform this harbor city into another joint industrial complex.

A special peace zone will be set up along the coast of Haeju, with the purpose of developing joint fisheries and establishing a new economic zone.

The city is geographically advantageous to South Korean manufacturers because it is close to Incheon Port, the nation’s second-largest harbor.

“The Haeju project and Gaeseong Industrial Complex should be complementary to each other,” Jeong said.

But he cautioned that Seoul and Pyongyang should settle their dispute over the Northern Limit Line in the West Sea, in order to effectively operate the Haeju special zone.

The sea border was unilaterally drawn by the U.N. forces at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, but there has been no legal agreement on the demarcation between the two Koreas.

This has caused frequent military and diplomatic conflicts, including two deadly naval clashes in the West Sea, and has been a major obstacle to co-developing Haeju.


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