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Trade zone projects on border 'are going well'

(China Daily)

10:38, September 28, 2011

DANDONG, Liaoning - A detailed plan is expected to come out at the end of the year for the joint development of a trade zone in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) along the border, a senior official in the border city of Dandong told China Daily on Tuesday.

An economic zone on the Chinese side of the border has been established to provide support to the zone in the DPRK, and all work is progressing smoothly, Dai Yulin, Party secretary of Dandong, said.

The latest development was announced as DPRK Prime Minister Choe Yong-rim met President Hu Jintao in Beijing on the second day of his five-day visit to China.

The trip is widely expected to focus on economic reform in the DPRK.

Beijing and Pyongyang agreed in June to establish two development zones along their border. Both zones are located in the DPRK. One is on the Gold Flat and Granville islands near Dandong, Liaoning province, while the other is near Yanbian, Jilin province.

A joint China-DPRK management committee for the development of Gold Flat and Granville islands has been formalized, Dai said.

"Both sides are working hard to speed up cooperation."

The Dandong government has earmarked 10 square kilometers for a State-level economic zone on the Chinese side, adjacent to Gold Flat, to support the plan, Dai said.

The Chinese zone will house industries from trade to logistics and provide supplies for infrastructure, energy and basic necessities.

"The opening up of the DPRK has provided an historic opportunity for Dandong," Dai said.

In light of the projects the city government on Tuesday invited 72 experts to establish a think tank to help and promote the city's development.

"The progress signals that economic cooperation between China and the DPRK has entered a key phase," said Liu Youfa, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies.

Liu said Pyongyang is committed to pushing forward with the plan. "No country can survive today without economic exchanges with other countries."

Choe, accompanied by a slew of high-ranking business officials, is scheduled to visit several companies and factories in the commercial hub of Shanghai and the wealthy eastern province of Jiangsu.

Media reports said Choe is likely to visit Nanjing and Yangzhou in Jiangsu to "express the DPRK's stance on reform and opening up to China".

Ouyang Yuanhua contributed to this story.

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