World Bulletin / News Desk
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's uncle and the man seen as the power behind the young ruler went to Beijing on Monday in the latest signal that the state is looking seriously at ways to revive its broken economy.
The official KCNA news agency said Jang Song-thaek was visiting China, the North's only major ally, to discuss setting up joint commercial projects and comes after leader Kim recently told Beijing that his priority is to develop his impoverished country's decaying economy.
"A delegation of the DPRK-China Joint Guidance Committee Monday left here for Beijing, China to take part in the third meeting of the committee," KCNA said.
DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
"It was headed by its DPRK side Chairman Jang Song Thaek who is a department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea."
KCNA said the meeting is to discuss the joint economic projects in Rason on the North's east coast, and in Hwanggumphyong, an area on the border between the two countries that is yet to be developed.
The dispatch gave no details about the projects or who else was in the delegation.
The visit by Jang, who has long advocated economic reforms in one of Asia's poorest states, follows growing speculation that Pyongyang and its new leaders want bring changes to the way the economy is managed.
The two countries have planned to develop a new industrial district on the Yalu River that runs along their border, but the construction of a new bridge that will be part of the project has been suspended because of disagreements on how to proceed.
China is believed to be wary of pursuing a major new commercial venture with North Korea at a time of its own leadership transition and as Pyongyang continues to defy calls to divert scarce resources away from arms development programme.
South Korea is the only other partner in commercial development in the North, with an industrial park just north of their heavily fortified border the site of factories where about 120 South Korean firms use cheap local labour to make goods.
Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2012, 15:44