Connect to share and comment

A guide to the dynamic economics, politics, and culture of the world's most populous region.

North Korea makes a play for foreign investors

As Kim Jong Il snuggles up to China, Pyongyang announces a new economic strategy that goes against its isolationist tendencies.
North korea kim jong il economy 2011 05 23Enlarge
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il visits the Pyongyang Mechanical Pencil Factory in Pyongyang, North Korea. This undated photo was released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on May 8, 2011. (KCNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Despite the fact that millions are reportedly going hungry in North Korea, the reclusive state has announced its ambitions to boost the country's GDP to $360-400 billion.

That's up from $40 billion or so over the past few years, according to the CIA World Fact Book.

Just how will Pyongyang do it?

According to state-run Korean Central News Agency, North Korea has put attracting foreign investment at the heart of a 10-year strategy that involves setting up a National Development Bank and assigning an insurance company to protect foreign investors, reports the Asia Times Online.

The strategy appears to be a departure from the isolationist tendencies that North Korea has displayed for decades, but analysts say that this isn't the first time the North has made a play to open up — and then failed to do so.

Regardless, it looks like the North will be getting by with a little help from a familiar friend.

Kim Jong Il is in China presently for what seems to mainly be economic reasons — and a little retail shopping.

Sources in South Korea say that Beijing and Pyongyang have even firmed up a bilateral agreement to develop a port in the North's northeast, which will allow China access to the East Sea, as well as Hwanggumpyong Island on the Yalu River, which will then facilitate the North's access to the Chinese border.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/north-korea-foreign-investment-economic-strategy