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Shinuiju Reflects Kim’s Desperation – WSJ

Posted October. 01, 2002 23:11,   


North Korea’s what seems to be an ambitious plan to build a special economic district in Shinuiju is an act of desperation by the country’s leader Kim Jong-il rather than a genuine economic reform drive, Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 1 in its online edition.

The business magazine argued that the only change taking place in the reclusive country for the past few years is “the level of desperation its leader Kim is going through.” It continued to say “Kim has a special skill of milking others, but now it becomes too risky to use such a tactic due to its economy in tatters and the hardline policy in the U.S.”

“The desperation explained his experiment with Shinuiju.” The paper predicted that if the special economic zone successfully draws foreign funds, the regime will use the success to prolong it rule, while a failure will mark yet another unfulfilled promise by North Korea.

A quad-pro-quo deal, therefore, sounds very convincing given Kim’s track record of bluffing and extracting bargains - an allegation that the South Korean government paid $400 million secretly in return for Kim’s return visit to Seoul recently renewed political bickering between the rival parties in Korea.

According to WSJ, the plan to evict tens of thousands of people to build a new city, in which foreigners travel freely without going to an immigration office and where the local authority has its own police and judiciary branches, is just a fairy tail story.

North Korea’s distorted approach towards foreign investments is reflected in its appointment of Yang Bin, Chairman of Uyuya Group. Yang has been accused of tax evasion and the group’s stock was suspended in the Hong Kong bourse. WSJ pointed out the case in which South Korean and Japanese reporters tried in vain to enter the region without visa after Yang’s announcement of no-visa policy.

The paper added that the world must find a way to spur collapse of Kim’s regime instead of helping him stay in power by offering bribes and funds.