North Korea Seeking International Aid for Developing Duman River as Business Hub

kpride, Jan. 14, 2015, 11:21 a.m.

North Korea is wooing help from South Korea, China and Russia in developing the Duman River area as a business hub.  The North Korean Academy of Social Sciences put forward the proposal in the latest issue of its quarterly journal late last year.

"Developing the Duman River and nearby areas has emerged as a way for multinational economic cooperation in the Northeast Asian region over some two decades since the 1990s," Prof. Ri Haeng-ho of the academy wrote in a paper. 

He also noted that laying oil and gas pipelines and linking the Trans-Siberian Railway have become major projects for cross-border cooperation.  He added the Korean Peninsula "holds a large economic potential in various respects because it sits in the center of Northeast Asia, and in spite of political and military tensions.

Ri did not mention South Korea directly as a potential partner for the project but clearly that is what the paper implies.  The academy is the North's top think tank with nine subsidiary research institutes focusing on economics, history, philosophy, law, literature, languages and the "juche" or self-reliance doctrine of nation founder Kim Il-sung. 

The fresh emphasis on plans for Duman River development is among several attempts by the regime to overcome isolation due to sanctions by the international community.

"It seems that Kim Jong-un is turning his attention to a development that is attractive to the two Koreas, China and Russia because the regime's earlier plan to promote foreign investment through special economic zones hasn't worked," said Cho Bong-hyun of the IBK Institute here.


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