RAJIN, North Korea - Destitute North
Korea's push to breathe new life into economic relationships
with its neighbors China and Russia appears to be bearing fruit
in its far north of the country where foreigners are busy
helping rebuild a crumbling infrastructure.
A top local official told reporters on Tuesday that China
and Russia had invested heavily in the region in order to gain
access to its three east coast ports in the towns of Rajin and
Songbon, which are the main centers for the secretive North's
Rason Special Economic Zone.
"Rason is situated well geographically, and provides
favorable conditions for investment," the city's vice mayor
Hwang Chol-nam said through an interpreter.
The ports would more than halve the distance Chinese firms
needed to ferry goods from landlocked Yanji in Jilin province to
the major industrial center of Dalian which is also a shipping
hub for northeast China.