Wednesday, September 7, 2011

AFP video: "North Korea seeks foreign help for controversial resort" at Mt Kumgangsan

It's all in the video, which focuses a lot more on English-speaking Malaysian tourists walking around and looking at things than it does offering any news that would support the title they offered up.

Well, I guess they do have Kim Kwang-yun, director of the Mt Kŭmgangsan International Tourism Leadership Bureau, giving some sort of pitch to the Malaysians, starting at 1:47. But we don't hear him say much, as the AFP video editor seems to be afflicted with ADD. I'm guessing Mr Kim had offered a free trip if the Malaysians agreed to hear a pitch on Kŭmgangsan time-shares.

And who wouldn't want to invest in a North Korean tourism project? After all, it's only on rare occasion that the North Korean soldiers who patrol the place shoot and kill your customers, and the infrastructure is already there, built by and then stolen from the previous investors, so all you have to do is come (and bring hard currency)!

For something more solidly newsy, we have AP instead of AFP, in a separate article, saying North Korea is "looking to China" in a "drive to boost trade and investment":
Chinese travel agents, potential investors and foreign journalists recently traveled into the North to get a look at the special economic zone Pyongyang is promoting in Rason. It lies in the far northeastern tip of North Korea, 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) from Pyongyang, but will be about an hour’s drive from China once the road is completed. ...

The market, a 13-year-old experiment in small-scale capitalism, has been so successful that the Chinese managing company, the Tianyu Group, is planning to expand the jam-packed 54,000-square-foot (5,000-square-meter) market to 320,000 square feet (30,000 square meters), Tianyu vice director Zheng Zhexi said.
The AP article is heavily focused on construction of the Chinese highway to North Korea's Rasŏn/Rajin industrial port development, which is a key part of incorporating North Korea into China's Northeastern Provinces, part of what I call the Manchurianization of North Korea.

Back to the video above. The AFP short film does offer a taste of why the Malaysians have come to this part of North Korea: secrecy. Several of them state that they're curious about secretive North Korea because they want to figure out why it's so secret. I guess if I were from a country billed as "truly Asia," then I'd be darned uncomfortable if I didn't know what all the other Asians were up to. 

And maybe North Korea really can rescue Kŭmgangsan with foreign tourists. Stick an affordable ski resort up there, make sure skiing accidents outnumber shooting incidents, and cash-carrying nouveau-riche Southeast Asians will come in droves (that sounds disparaging to the newly rich SE Asians, but I don't' mean it as such; good on them for starting to do well).

And in the end, if Pyongyang decides that it can rescue rural North Korea by replacing South Koreans with Southeast Asians, they're simply copying what Seoul has been doing for years in rural South Korea.  


No comments:

Post a Comment

Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.