North Korea plans to create special economic zones

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea announced on Thursday it is setting up 14 new economic development zones, including one in a northwestern city that borders China in an apparent bid to attract more foreign investment, according to reports.

"The DPRK (North Korea) decided to set up a special economic zone in some parts of Sinuiju, North Phyongan Province," said the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"The sovereignty of the DPRK will be exercised in the zone," the news agency added, interpreted by South Korea's Yonhap news agency as a sign that Pyongyang plans to open the area to foreign investment.

KCNA also listed thirteen other smaller zones.

According to Yonhap, the North's Supreme People's Assembly passed a law on economic development zones including tax concessions for external investors.

North Korea currently has four special economic zones: the Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa islands, Kaesong Industrial Complex, Mount Kumgang region and Rason.