By Horace Lu
Kim Jong-il, staring at Food Products of the Glorious Sea at the Rason Taehung Trading Company in 2009.
China has secured the rights to build three new piers in the North Korean special economic zone of Rason and will be entitled to utilize the piers for 50 years, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
The infrastructure investment, worth $3 billion USD, will also include an airfield for passenger and cargo planes in addition to the piers, to be built after the construction of the first pier.
But wait, there’s more! Also included in the package will be a thermal power plant, as well as a 55-kilometer railway track between China’s northeastern city of Tumen and Rason! You can’t beat that deal.
A few million sets of Ginsu Knives were initially rumored to be also included in the deal, until authorities thought better of handing out severely pointy objects to citizens about to go through a painful transition into a state-capitalist society. Instead, talks are ongoing for harmless ShamWow’s to be airdropped throughout the country.
Though neither side is willing to make any official comment, the deal is said to have been signed around the time of Kim Jong-il’s death on December 17th.
AFP reports that the move is being made in light of the fact that South Korea’s economic influence on their Northern cousins is dwindling amid political tensions, while South Korean media reports that China sees Rason as a chance to gain access to the Sea of Japan.
Analysts also fear that the somewhat colonialist Rason concession is merely a precursor for the whole of North Korea beoming gradually dominated by their imposing neighbor.
Meanwhile, Northeast Asia scholar Hu Mingyuan, declares North Korea’s neighboring countries should “take the initiative to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the DPRK to prompt it to embark on the road of opening-up,” since an “economically prosperous and socially stable” North Korea is good for everyone, just like free ShamWow’s
to clothe for every man, woman, and child.
Rason, located near both China and Russia in the country’s northeast, is one of North Korea’s few capitalist sectors open to foreign investments. Pyongyang designated the city as a special economic zone, and expected something akin to a North Korean Chicago, though little progress has so far been made. China already gained the use of one pier in Rason in 2008, while Russia also secured the rights for their own pier.