Archive for the ‘North Hamgyong Provincial Onsong island tourist development zone’ Category

North Korea Spurring Development of Various Special Tourist Zones

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2015-4-30

North Korea is expediting the development of various ‘Special Tourist Zones’. North Korea is diversifying its tour packages, and have designated Mt. Kumgang (Kumgangsan) and Mt. Paektu (Paektusan) as International Special Tourist Zones. A Special Tourist Zone on the riverside near the Amrok (Yalu) River Bridge is also under construction. This zone is designed to attract foreign tourists including Chinese tourists.

In addition, North Korea and China are pushing forward with the ‘Onsong-Tumen Border Culture and Tourism Cooperation Zone.’ This is intended to be a cooperation zone that integrates tourism, cultural performances, duty-free shopping and serves as a distribution center of tourism products for both countries.

North Korea has also revealed outlines of its plans for the Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang Tourist Region and is pushing ahead with an on-site briefing session scheduled for May 2015. While North Korea repairs and expands the existing road network connecting each tourist site (focusing first on Wonsan), authorities have decided to construct a transportation network by establishing a high-speed railroad between Pyongyang and Wonsan, as well as opening passenger routes between Wonsan Harbor and Rason, and Wonsan Harbor and Vladivostok. They also plan to introduce a series of measures for attracting tourists, including a no-visa system, currently under consideration.

In addition, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) has announced an era of full-fledged international tourism in Mt. Paektu. On April 23, 2015, KCNA revealed that the Mubong International Special Tourist Zone will be built in part of Samjiyon County’s Mubong Workers’ District near Mt. Paektu. The Mubong Workers’ District is 35km away from Mt. Paektu, 60km away from Samjiyon, and 70km away from Taehongdan. Thus, it is considered eligible for designation as a special district.

This location is considered to be relatively well-equipped with tourism infrastructure compared to other regions, and expected to perform favorably in attracting outside investment. KCNA reported that this region has a number of amenities and attractions as a Special Tourist Zone.

For example, two decades ago North Korea prepared to host the 1995 Asian Winter Games in Samjiyon until those preparations came to a halt. However, construction resumed in the 2000s, and since then North Korea has constructed a large-scale winter athlete’s village equipped with facilities such as a ski resort and ice rink. Also, Mubong lies in the middle of Samjiyon, Mt. Paektu, and Taehongdan. From Mubong one can go climb Mt. Paektu and view the entire Samjiyon area, or go to Taehongdan and see the large potato-growing districts.

Since the Kim Jong Il era, potato fields were planted in Taehongdan as a tourist attraction. In Mubong, North Korea built large-scale blueberry production complexes, which have become well-known for their blueberry wine. There are also customs offices in Ssangdubong, making the entry process for foreigners presumably less difficult.

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Master development plans [for EDZs] begin to work

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

According to the Pyongyang Times (2015-1-6):

The development of EDZs (economic development zones) is going full steam ahead in the country after the publication of decrees on the establishment of economic development zones in provinces by the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly on November 21 2013 and July 23 2014.

EDZ is a special economic zone in which preferential treatment is given to economic activities pursuant to the DPRK law on economic development zones.

After the publication of the decrees, provincial people’s committees began to work out master plans for economic development zones and create environment for investment.

As a result, master plans for such development zones have been approved by provincial people’s assemblies including the Amnokgang economic development zone in North Phyongan Province, Manpho economic and Wiwon industrial development zones in Jagang Province, Sinphyong tourism development and Songnim export processing zones in North Hwanghae Province, Hyondong industrial development zone in Kangwon Province, Hungnam industrial and Pukchong agricultural development zones in South Hamgyong Province, Chongjin economic, Orang agricultural and Onsong island tourism development zones in North Hamgyong Province, Hyesan economic development zone in Ryanggang Province, Waudo export processing zone in Nampho City, and Chongnam industrial and Sukchon agricultural development zones in South Phyongan Province.

Master plans for other development zones are being worked out at the final stage.

With master development plans approved, provincial people’s committees are now working to attract more foreign investors and developing businesses to cooperate with their projects.

In October last year the Russian minister of Development of Far East visited the Chongjin EDZ together with Russian businesspersons to check the state of development and discuss matters of investment and development with officials concerned of the North Hamgyong Provincial People’s Committee.

Cooperation is being stepped up with Chinese businesses in the Onsong island tourism development zone in the wake of the opening ceremony of tourism in the Chongsu tourism development zone in Sakju County, North Phyongan Province in October last year.

Governments of some Southeast Asian nations are showing particular interest in the investment in the Sukchon agricultural development zone in South Phyongan Province.

Preparations are expected to be made for receiving investment in the development zones and the EDZs offer preferential treatment to developing businesses and investors with independence in management.

Management agencies are being set up in EDZs, experts needed for the development of these areas trained in universities in Pyongyang and provinces and technical personnel dispatched to other countries for practice.

Brisk activities for the development of EDZs in provinces across the country are attracting growing interest of experts and investors in many countries of the world, especially Asia-Pacific and Southeast Asian nations.

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EDZs in North Hamgyong Province

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

According to the Pyongyang Times (2014-6-28):

North Hamgyong Province, together with Rason City which is the first economic and trade zone in the DPRK, is located in the place linking Northeast China, Russia, Japan and other Pacific nations.

It has rich tourism resources including Mt. Chilbo, a celebrated mountain of Korea, and renowned Kyongsong spa. The long east coastline provides it with favourable conditions for the development of fisheries and ocean development industry.

It also has the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex, the Musan Mining Complex and other large industrial establishments and light industry factories, provincial branch of the academy of agricultural science and universities.

The local authorities intend to develop three economic development zones in the province—Chongjin Economic Development Zone, Orang Agricultural Development Zone and Onsong Island Tourism Development Zone—by making the most of these favourable conditions.

The Chongjin Economic Development Zone will focus on metal processing, machine building, building materials, electronic goods, light industry products and export processing, combined with international freight transit transport through Chongjin Port.

It will be developed into a hub of production of secondary and tertiary processed metal products with iron and steel products of the Kim Chaek Iron and Steel Complex, manufacturing of machinery and electronic goods and equipment and bonded processing of hydraulic and precision machinery, robots and road vehicles with processed metal products made at the machine and chemical factories and other industrial establishments.

At the moment the zone development will be orientated to renovating Chongjin Port to boost freight transit transport with Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces of China and neighbouring nations and bonded processing and trade through it, and increasing the proportion of technology-intensive processing industry by relying on the abundant skilled manpower and scientific and technological personnel in the surroundings.

Professor Gu Chaolin at Qinghua University of China, an SEZ expert, said after touring the area that the zone is favourable for investment as it has a solid industrial foundation and many universities around it.

As a typical unit of the northern agricultural areas on the east coast, the Orang Agricultural Development Zone will be developed into a high-efficiency agricultural base that concentrates on agricultural research and production and to which a modern food production cycle combining stockbreeding and fish farming is applied.

It will be a model base of breeding and seed production and a modern intensive stockbreeding centre based on advanced farming for vegetable and flower production including water-saving and no-soil cultivation in greenhouses and a food production cycle embracing animal husbandry and fruit and fish farming.

Additional efforts will be directed to the development of fruit farming by generalizing experiences gained in the building of the agricultural development zone on the trial stage to the nearby areas. Fresh and seawater fish farms and fish processing bases will be built on the shore of Lake Jangyon.

After touring the area, Arnel Casanova, a Philippine SEZ expert commented that it is beneficial to have selected it as an agricultural development zone.

Onsong Island on the Tuman River on the border between the DPRK and China will be built as a hub of commerce combined with tourism.

Foreign investors toured the zones and expressed their willingness to invest in the economic zones.”

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Contract signed for Onsong Economic Development Zone

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Onsong-SEZ-2015-9-13-web

Pictured above (Google Earth): The approximate location for the North Hamgyong Provincial Onsong Island Tourist Development Zone

According to China’s Global Times:

A contract has been signed between North Korea and a Chinese border city to develop a special economic zone in North Hamkyung Province, one day after North Korea removed Kim Jong-un’s once all-powerful uncle from his post.

North Korea on Monday signed the contract for Onsong Economic Development Zone with Tumen, a Chinese city under the administration of Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in Northeast China’s Jilin Province, South Korea’s JoongAng Daily reported Thursday.

On Sunday, North Korea dismissed Jang Song-thaek, widely considered the second-most powerful figure in the country, and expelled him from the Workers’ Party of Korea. Jang was accused of “anti-party, counter-revolutionary factional acts” and womanizing.

Considered an economic reformist, Jang led a delegation to China in August last year to discuss the development of two economic zones in Rason City and the Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa islands near the Chinese border.

An official from Tumen said the city government expressed concerns regarding possible postponement of the contract signing due to Jang’s ouster, but North Korea requested they sign the contract as scheduled, according to the daily.

“Jang’s involvement in economic projects had been diminished significantly this year, so his purge would not have much impact on the speed of economic reform in North Korea,” Kim Kyu-chol, head of non-government Forum for Inter-Korean Relations, a Seoul-based group monitoring inter-Korean business relations, told the Global Times on Thursday. “Actually  economic reform will speed up next year as North Korea will focus on the economy next year, the third of Kim Jong-un’s rule.”

North Korea was in the process of forming the new National Committee for Economic Development earlier this year, which technocrats who had prior experience with the nation’s former economic development bureau, will have joined, Kim Kyu-chol said.

North Korea also reached an agreement with China on Sunday over a 380-kilometer high-speed railway to connect Sinuiju, the city across the border from Dandong in Liaoning Province, through to Pyongyang and Kaesong, South Korean Democratic Party lawmaker Hong Ik-pyo told a seminar at the National Assembly.

Pyongyang’s insistence on inking the contract sends a signal that its economic ties with China will not be affected by Jang’s dismissal and that North Korea wants to strengthen cooperation with China, said Jiang Longfan, a North Korea expert at Yanbian University.

“Kim wants to consolidate his absolute authority through purging Jang, but in the meantime the commitment to economic development has to be maintained to win people’s support,” Jiang said.

Sinuiju Special Zone located at the estuary of the Yalu River is expected to see the ground-breaking of a major project in February next year, with backing from Hong Kong. North Korea also signed a contract with investors from Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Chinese mainland to invest in the Kangryong Green Development Zone in South Hwanghae Province in mid-November, Tongil News reported on Tuesday.

The Onsong Economic Development Zone is one of the 14 special economic zones North Korea has designated this year to attract foreign investment.

North Korea planned to develop the zone into a tourism resort that includes a golf course, swimming pool, horse racing, and restaurants to attract foreigners, said Jin Hualin, an expert on North Korea economy at Yanbian University.

“But the exact development agenda hasn’t been set as Tumen will invite investors to make their decisions,” he said.

He is optimistic about the economic prospects for the zone, which, located in mysterious North Korea, will be attractive to foreigners, he said.

Next year, North Korea aims to host 1 million foreign tourists and thus further tourism projects are expected to be announced, Kim Kyu-chol said.

Some 250,000 foreign tourists, more than 90 percent of whom were Chinese, visited North Korea last year, Kim said.

Read the full story here:
N.Korea inks border town economic deal
Global Times
Sun Xiaobo and Park Gayoung
2013-12-13

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The aim of North Korea’s economic development zone: Regional balanced development and improvement of people’s livelihoods

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
2013-12-06

North Korea is pushing ambitious development of local economic development zones, purportedly with the aim of promoting balanced development of the local economy and improving the lives of ordinary people.

On November 29, 2013, the Choson Sinbo, a pro-North Korean newspaper based in Japan, reported details of North Korea’s proposed 13 economic development zones (EDZs) by province, including the characteristics of the plans, goals, and outlook. It specified that the main objectives of this project are to promote a “balanced local economy development and improve the lives of residents.”

To enhance the effectiveness of the EDZs, each region’s characteristics were incorporated into the development strategy.

The existing Rason and the Hwanggumpyong Special Economic Zones are comprehensive and large in scale, covering production and processing, transport, commerce, and tourism sectors. The local-level EDZs, on the other hand, reflect each area’s local economy and culture and more narrowly focus on local industries.

For example, the EDZ slated for Pukchong in South Hamgyong Province is an agricultural zone; Onsong in North Hamgyong Province is for island tourism; and Waudo in Nampo City is an export processing zone. He one reflects its region’s characteristics.

The (North) Korean Association of Economic Development Director Yun Yong Sok, who is in charge of attracting investment from foreign companies, said, “By integrating the unique features of each region, it can benefit the local economy through acquiring necessary technology for the development and also earn foreign currency contributable to improving the lives of the people.”

He also said that “The goods produced in the EDZs will be exported to other countries but at the same time will be able to meet domestic demand,” and “the development of EDZs will center on the border areas adjacent to China and Russia.”

In addition, each province was encouraged to develop plans according to the region’s environment and apply to the People’s Committee in each province. Plans were then sent to the State Economic Development Commission for in-depth deliberations.

North Korea has upgraded the State Economic Development Commission (from its previous designation as the State Economic Development Board) in October 2013 to become a direct mechanism under the Cabinet that oversees the establishment and management of EDZs.

This commission is responsible for developing national strategies relevant to special economic zones such as selection process of provincial EDZ establishment, preparation to state evaluation, modification and supplementation of laws and regulations, and the entire process for implementation.

As predicted by Ri Sun Chol, International Economic Relations Research Director at the Economic Institute in the Academy of Social Sciences, “Once the economic development zones are established in each province, it will greatly expand the breadth of the foreign economic cooperation and will provide a fundamental opportunity to invigorate investment activities.”

The Choson Sinbo reported that while some might take a pessimistic outlook on the new EDZs, the new project is attracting interests from various countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore, and the local and central governments are working closely to promote this project.

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