by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) July 4, 2012
A group of North Korean officials and scholars is receiving training in China on the workings of special economic zones, news reports said Wednesday.
Yonhap news agency and Daily NK, a Seoul-based online newspaper, quoted sources as saying the group of about 20 officials and scholars arrived in the northeastern city of Tianjin in May.
They have been taking lessons from Chinese experts in operating, managing and attracting investment to such zones, Yonhap said.
The group is expected to stay for a total of two months and divide its time between economic theory and touring Chinese economic zones, it said.
All expenses were reportedly being covered by the Chinese government.
North Korea has designated two islands on its border with China and two northeastern port cities as special economic zones, but they have so far largely failed to attract investment from abroad.
China, the North's main benefactor, has repeatedly urged it to open up the crumbling state-directed economy. Many analysts say Pyongyang's regime views this as too great a political risk.
But Yang Moo-Jin of Seoul's University of North Korean Studies said new leader Kim Jong-Un is likely to be more aggressive in introducing market reforms than his late father Kim Jong-Un.
"Educated in the West and well acquainted with news from the outside, Kim Jong-Un is more open-minded than his late father towards the market economy," Yang told AFP.
"Once he firmly secures political stability, he has greater potential than his father to introduce openness and reform."
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S. Korea's Lee raps cabinet on bungled pact with Japan
Seoul (AFP) July 2, 2012
South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak rebuked his cabinet Monday for mishandling the signing of a landmark military pact with former colonial power Japan, but said his country still needs it. The information-sharing pact, scheduled to be signed last Friday in Tokyo, would have been the first military agreement between Seoul and Tokyo since the end of Japan's brutal 1910-45 rule. But Seoul ... read more
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