“At least when the Chinese say, ‘This is going to be an investment zone,’ they put in electricity and phone lines and sewers,” tells author Paul French the BBC about the failed North-Korean investment zone at the China border. The China model did not work in North-Korea.
“At least when the Chinese say, ‘This is going to be an investment zone,’ they put in electricity and phone lines and sewers,” says Paul French, a China-based markets analyst and author of North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula
“The North Koreans just take some fields and say, ‘This is going to be an investment zone’ and expect it to look like Chicago in a few years.”…
[T]he ravaging of North Korea’s economy in recent years has meant less and less left in the country to build from[, says Paul French].
“If you go to those border towns along the Yalu River, on the Chinese side, all you see is timber and copper wire and bits of old scrap metal that used to be machines. They’re coming out of North Korea and being sold for pennies to Chinese scrap-metal dealers. You’re looking at a wholesale 15-year process of asset-stripping the entire country.”
The question now, he says, is this: “If you went down there [to North Korea] and signed a contract, is there anyone left sitting there with a factory who could switch the lights on and start the machines running again? I doubt that very much now.”