The joint initiative by China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to build two special economic zones has entered a “substantive stage”, the Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.
The statement followed a series of agreements reached between the ministry and a high-level DPRK delegation.
Both countries will accelerate infrastructure construction, in and around the zones, and implement policies to attract foreign investment, the ministry said.
Chinese companies will get support to expand in the DPRK, which is poised to strengthen its economy, the ministry said.
The ministry’s remarks came after the third conference of the joint guide committee of the two special economic zones in Beijing on Tuesday.
The zones are a result of an official visit by former DPRK leader Kim Jong-il to China in 2010. One zone is located at the small port of Rason near Northeast China’s Jilin province, and the other is on the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa islands near Dandong, Liaoning province.
Jang Song-thaek, vice-chairman of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK, met Minister of Commerce Chen Deming in Beijing on Tuesday. Both attended the conference.
A delegation led by Jang embarked on a six-day visit to China on Monday, and the team is expected to visit Liaoning and Jilin.
The visit could be a prelude to one by new leader Kim Jong-un to Beijing. Kim has yet to visit Beijing but his father, Kim Jong-il, was a frequent visitor to China in his later years.
The visit plays a crucial role in the DPRK’s efforts to strengthen its economy, experts said.
“Recent moves show that the DPRK is expanding its economy,” said Huo Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a think tank linked to the Ministry of Commerce.
“The nation could learn from China’s experience in launching reform and opening-up during the past three decades. The positive signal is that the DPRK is on the right track,” he said.
The ministry said both countries reached a series of agreements during the conference.
“Development of the two special economic zones has entered a substantive period,” said a statement on the ministry’s website.
“Both sides emphasized the importance of further pushing forward economic cooperation and development of the zones,” it said.
“The cooperation and co-development is of huge significance to consolidating and enhancing China-DPRK ties, and also to boosting the economies and to maintaining regional stability and prosperity.”
Jang’s visit comes after reports that the DPRK is poised to experiment with agricultural and economic initiatives.
And it also comes hot on the heels of an official visit to Pyongyang by Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
Officials and experts said strengthened economic relations are important for the DPRK to improve its economy.
Chen Jian, vice-minister of commerce, said in an article in the People’s Daily on Tuesday that “China and the DPRK are heralding an era of opportunities to deepen economic cooperation and jointly develop economic growth”.
Earlier this month, Kim Yong-nam, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of the DPRK, paid a three-day visit to Vietnam.
Pyongyang had two rounds of nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009 and was sanctioned by the UN Security Council.
“Growing bilateral cooperation could help the DPRK alleviate poverty and address economic woes. And China can also benefit from the DPRK’s growth,” Huo said.
Zhang Yansheng, secretary-general of the Academic Committee of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that China’s experience would be of immense value.
“There are many things that China could share with the DPRK, but the problem is how determined the nation is to change, including the willingness to improve the investment environment,” Zhang said.
BEIJING, August 15 (Xinhuanet) Source: China Daily
Related News from DPRK:
The delegation of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee sojourned in Jilin and Liaoning Provinces, China on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Department Director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea Jang Song Thaek, head of the delegation of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee, met and had friendly talks with Sun Zhengcai, secretary of the Jilin Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, in Changchun City and Wang Min, secretary of the Liaoning Provincial Committee of the CPC, in Shenyang.
Sun Zhengcai extended congratulations to the successful third meeting of the above-said committee.
He said that Jilin Province is a significant place featured by historic relics on President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il, recollecting with deep emotion the days when he was received by Kim Jong Il who visited the province in 2010.
The Jilin Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China and the Jilin Provincial People’s Government will make efforts to implement the points agreed at the third meeting of the China-DPRK Joint Guidance Committee, he concluded.
Wang Min said he was pleased with the achievements made by the Korean people in building a thriving socialist nation under the leadership of the dear respected Kim Jong Un.
He underscored the need to contribute to boosting the traditional Sino-DPRK friendly relations provided by the leaders of the elder generations of the two countries by stepping up the joint development of the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwado Economic Zones.
Pyongyang, August 16 (KCNA)