May 11, 2010 09:56
The businessman who has been put in charge of wooing foreign investment to North Korea visited the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex on May 1 along with some 15 investors from China and Hong Kong.
Sources said Pak Chol-su, who heads the Taepung International Investment Group, toured a handful of firms and a water purification plant based in the complex as part of the one-day visit. They were escorted by a deputy head for the complex development project.
North Korea hired Pak, an ethnic Korean from China, in January as president of Taepung to attract foreign investment and to develop the North's industrial complexes. Kim Yang-gon, the director of North Korea's Workers' Party's United Front Department who heads the board of the company's directors, accompanied North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on his recent trip to China.
Pak is also assistant chief of a state development bank North Korea opened recently to handle international financing operations.
There are rumors that North Korea is seeking to build industrial complexes in Sinuiju and other locations, said Cho Bong-Hyun, a North Korea analyst with the Industrial Bank of Korea. "It's possible that Pak took Chinese investors to the Kaesong Industrial Complex to demonstrate that Chinese capital could be invested in North Korean labor."
But a South Korean government source said if conclusive evidence is found linking North Korea to the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26, the Kaesong Industrial Complex could be at risk, and North Korea may have shown it to Chinese investors in case South Korean companies are pulled out.
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