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UN lauds Yanbian development

By Wu Yong and Liu Mingtai in Yanji, Jilin  (China Daily)

08:34, September 04, 2012

Senior official from the United Nations Development Programme said China plays an active role in promoting regional cooperation and sets a good example for countries in Northeast Asia.

"We have seen the great achievements by Yanbian prefecture in its 60 years of development. And one important lesson learned from Yanbian’s success is its proactive opening-up and effective cooperation with its neighbors along the Tumen River region," said Choi Hoon, director of the UNDP Tumen Secretariat, at the eve of Yanbian’s 60-year celebration ceremony.

Yanbian Korean autonomous prefecture, in the eastern part of Northeast China’s Jilin province, shares a 768.5-km-long border with Russia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It also has easy access to affluent markets in neighboring countries, including Japan, representing millions of consumers.

Because of Yanbian’s strategic geographic position, the UNDP launched a plan in 1991 to set up an economic development zone in the Tumen River Delta, a 516-km-long border river that lies between China, Russia and the DPRK. And this plan later evolved into the Greater Tumen Initiative, which aims to promote the regional development, prosperity and security of the Asia-Pacific region.

The Chinese government took measures to push forward the project, publishing two national-level regional opening-up guidelines, in 2009 and 2012, for turning Yanbian into a northeast cooperative platform.

Moreover, the State Council approved new guideline for further opening-up of northeastern China early last month, which points out the key work is to strengthen international cooperation with Russia and the DPRK, according to Xinhua News Agency.

"The two major challenges for Yanbian were the sensitive international political situation and limited market demand. Now is a golden time for the region," said Zhang Huizhi, professor of the Northeast Asian Studies Academy at Jilin University.

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