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Progress made in construction of int'l trade center in North: media

All Headlines 17:29 August 28, 2012

SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) -- North Korea said Tuesday it is making headway in a joint project with China to build a large-scale international trade center in the newly revamped economic zone in the country's northeast.

The project to build the Rason International Commerce and Trade Center began in April in Rason in the North's far northeast, jointly funded by the North's Rason Paekho Trading Corporation and a Chinese real estate development company in Qin Huangdao, the North's Korean Central News Agency said.

Rason was designated a special economic zone in 1991, seeking to become a potential hub for international transportation, trade and tourism in the world's most isolated nation. It has been governed by a separate set of laws and rules giving local officials more autonomy.

The first-stage of construction, of seven buildings for storehouses and a wholesale market, will be finished in mid-October, the KCNA said. The second stage will have nine buildings for shops, restaurants and hotels and is expected to be completed in October of next year.

The area covers some 40,000 square meters, with a total floor space of 88,000 square meters, the report said.

"The center is one of the big development projects in the zone," Song Ryang-dok, manager of the Rason Paekho Trading Corporation, was quoted as saying by the KCNA.

The latest report comes after Jang Song-thaek, the powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, earlier this month met with Chinese President Hu Jintao to forge deals on accelerating joint development of the North's special economic zone, including Rason and Hwanggumpyong Island, according to Chinese officials and the North's media.

Last week, North Korea hosted an international fair in Rason for potential foreign investors.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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