38 North: The Road to Rason by Andray Abrahamian

[From time to time CanKor will alert our readers to papers published by our partner-site 38North. The following article is authored by Andray Abrahamian, a freelance writer on Korea issues. He teaches in the Social Science College at the University of Ulsan in South Kore while working towards completing his doctoral dissertation on contemporary Orientalism and western images of North Korea. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Sussex, where he focused on Realist and Critical Theory approaches to East Asian relations. Please follow our links to this article on the 38North site. –CanKor.]

The Road to Rason By Andray Abrahamian

A bus bumps and bruises its way along the unpaved road, carrying would-be investors to Rason’s First Rason International Trade Exhibition which ran from August 21-25, 2011, in Sonbong. The windows are open, until a crimson humvee barrels past, its powerful suspension dancing on the road, leaving behind a plume of beige dust. The bus windows snap shut, the still air quickly gets hot and more than one of the passengers wishes we were Chinese high-rollers, being whisked to the Emperor Casino and Hotel, which sits beautifully on Korea’s East Sea, overlooking Bipa Island and flanked by lush green mountains and crystal waters.
Pictured to the right (Google Earth via NKeconwatch.com): Rason geographic border (in red) and security perimeter fence (in yellow).

The passengers of the humvee—part of the casino’s fleet—will long be checked in and gambling their fortunes away by the time we complete our two and a half hour journey. However, it won’t always be this way. Rason’s 50km road to the border is finally being upgraded. Indeed, the 2.5 hour journey took 3.5 hours in June. Since then, the road has been widened, the first stage of the construction plan, allowing for traffic to flow both directions more easily and smaller passenger vehicles to overtake the more cumbersome truckers who ply the road.  …Read More

DPRK Business Monthly Volume II, No. 5

The DPRK Business Monthly, an international business report edited in Beijing, has been made available to CanKor readers by its editor, Paul White. Please check the June 2011 edition here: DPRK Business Monthly June 2011

Titles of articles found in this issue include:

  • Ground Broken for Yalu Border Free Trade Zone
  • NK to Experiment with Free Market Practices
  • Mongolia Eyes NK Ports
  • NK-China Joint Venture Doing Well
  • Mount Kumgang Beckons Overseas Investors
  • Good Times Over for ROK Businesses Eyeing North
  • Seoul Offered FTA to Pyongyang: ROK Ex-Trade Official
  • ROK Catholics Pray for Better Seoul-P’yang Ties
  • Swiss Conductor Hopes for NK-ROK Youth Concert
  • Clavis Develops RFID-Enabled Asset Tracking System for Kaesong
  • NK Leases Rajin Pier to Swiss

… and a number of other items, including a selection of North Korean tours by various tour operators.

Please feel free to consult the full issue by clicking on this link: DPRK Business Monthly June 2011

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