Five countries signed agreements yesterday to develop the Tumen River region into an economic zone that has the potential to rival other economic regions in the world. Senior officials from Russia, China, South Korea, North Korea, and Mongolia signed three agreements, negotiated over the past three years under the sponsorship of the UN Development Program, which are already partially backed by foreign investors. Part of the river serves as a natural border in the northern part of North Korea where territories of that country, China and Russia meet. The river flows into the Sea of Japan and its area, once sparsely populated, is inhabited by some 150 million people from all three countries. (14)
The Tumen River Area is close to two of the world’s richest markets — South Korea and Japan. When fully developed, it could rival other trade zones because of its rich natural resources and low labor costs. The area already has attracted about $220 million in foreign investment. Industrial projects worth another $942 million are under discussion. UN development officials hope the agreements will bring about cooperation in economic, development, technical and political areas for Northeast Asian countries.
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