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back to article NORKS breaks ground on new high-tech industrial park

North Korea has finally begun building a new industrial complex designed to encourage investment from hi-tech companies hailing from across the border. The official ground-breaking for Kaesong Hi-Tech Industrial Park took place last week, according to reports from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) spotted by the North Korea …

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Talk about your case of split personalities.

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A communist hotel

Never really been something you'd associate with luxury or even modest comfort in the past.

Actually hasn't NorK got that massive 'look at me' black megahotel they started building 20-something years ago? I remember seeing reports from a journo who sneaked out of his tour party to go and check it out, it was just a husk.

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Re: A communist hotel

Ah yes, you mean the Daily Heil reporter who ran 4 miles through pitch black, unmapped, unsignposted streets past armed guards, walked around the hotel, ran the 4 miles back before sunrise and claimed to be the first person to have visited it, despite having produced no photographic evidence (and despite a tour group having been there a month before)?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2245054/Welcome-Hotel-Doom-The-3-000-room-monstrosity-Kim-Jong-Uns-starving-dictatorship-North-Korea-foreigner-stepped-inside--now.html

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Re: A communist hotel

Yes, they have a ginormous hotel (the shell of one anyway) with several revolving reasturants at the top. It would have been the largest hotel in the world but it never opened.

A Russian wireless telco struck a deal to put antennas on the roof and be the sole provider of mobile service for the price of finishing the exterior of the hotel to make it look presentable.

I've never been to North Korea but have a friend who goes a few times a year in his role with the UN. He's got a collection of tourist brochures that have the hotel obviously edited out then reappearing at a later date after it was improved.

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Re: A communist hotel

>>ran 4 miles through pitch black, unmapped, unsignposted streets past armed guards, walked around the hotel, ran the 4 miles back <<

Yep that's the one. You sound doubtful, I'm sure he used a little artistic licence for a good story but a 4 mile run is maybe 30 minutes, you know the rough direction then aim for the fucking great lump of triangular black, and back, maybe 90 mins without overdoing it.

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Re: A communist hotel

Having been there, I can tell you it'd be impossible.

And he mentions taking photos, without providing any in the article as evidence.

Also, Occam's Razor would suggest that it's a Daily Mail article and therefore highly unlikely to be true.

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Re: A communist hotel

This one?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryugyong_Hotel

Rumored to be unusable due to poor construction quality (bad concrete, crooked elevator shafts, etc)

The deal was rumored to be that the Orascom (Egyptian) telephone company would get the contract to run Pyongyang's cellular phone system if it put an outer skin on the skeleton. As far as I can tell, we now have lipstick on the pig, but the only profitable use to which this monstrosity is being put, is as a (very tall) cellular base station for the NORK glitterati.

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Indsutrial?

As title

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Indsutrial? Silcon?

Is this the Grauniad? ;)

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Coat

Wasted effort, surely .......

I mean what is the North Korean thinking. Even if the salaries are lower than China what company in its right mind would want to employ staff in a country with an evil dictator and the dubious human rights …… Oh err yes ‘All of them’ you say ……… Carry on

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Re: Wasted effort, surely .......

@Titus - Nice work! You are on your A-game today, I see.

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Sounds like the old South China gameplan

Beijing set up all kinds of "Special Economic Zones" in the South China Pearl River Delta area starting in the late 70's. Foreign investors brought capital in through Hong Kong and were given special low-tax incentives to marry up the local labor force with Western tech companies. This was one of the big breakthroughs that allowed nationwide market reforms to eventually take place.

I've read that the initiative was a huge success, and that the Pearl River Delta region (Guanzhou, Shenzhen and surrounding cities) now handle about 1/3 of all foreign trade from mainland China. Maybe North Korea will eventually open up in a similar manner.

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Re: Sounds like the old South China gameplan

More likely an attempt to get the West's tech companies to bring in their latest tech. Then they will shut the place by sending in the army to kick out everyone without the chance to take anything with them,.

A cheap way to get modern factories with latest tech etc that they are banned from buying themselves.....

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Re: Sounds like the old South China gameplan

@Big_Ted -

You could be right. There are a lot of similarities to China in the late 70's. They continued to threaten to attack Taiwan up until nearly present-day, and they were also shut off from receiving a lot of Western technology.

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Re: Sounds like the old South China gameplan

@Big_Ted

They wouldn't get much in the way of high tech, these are just assembly plants where cheap labour is used to put together components made in real high-tech factories in South Korea; at most they'd get some nice conveyor belts and a bit of stock of components waiting for assembly (most of which they could buy on eBay).

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"as well as a power plant"

Continuity of power supply in NK is a known problem, but I can't see how an independent power plant will solve NK's lack-of-fuel problem.

Seriously, I doubt there is any truth in the story.

Except for China, I doubt there are any 'foreign' investors willing to take the political risk of NK (ie. subsequent wholesale nationalisation of the plant by the DPRK). The only thing China could gain would be the absence of labour costs. I have no doubt that DPRK will use its unskilled, Gulag labour (yes, those labour camps that DPRK refuses to acknowledge exist despite the testimony of satellite imagery and NK defectors). Unskilled labour, poor quality control and an unacceptably high spoilage rate will make the venture uneconomic - even with zero labour cost.

The whole story is nothing but DPRK propaganda.

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Re: "as well as a power plant"

Russia provides 'a lot' of tech to the DPRK, as well as lots of other bones to help keep them just above the peasant rebellion stage. I could definitely see Russia doing a deal where the North Koreans assemble their own kit with parts and technical assistance from Russia. A unified Korea would almost certainly lean towards the US and Russia considers that a threat to their Asian trade. Preventing the DPRK from falling completely into the 19th century with a little tech keeps things just how Russia wants them.

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Big Brother

@Don Jefe Re: "as well as a power plant"

And there's me thinking that nice Mr Putin had "altruism" written all over him...

Interesting how he wants the status & position of a Czar, but with the effective power of his old KGB chief...

Plus ça change

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