Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership
DPRK state media reported on 15 September (Saturday) that a ground breaking ceremony was held on Hwanggu’mp’yo’ng Island for an office building for the Hwanggu’mp’yo’ng Economic Zone’s managers’ board. The ceremony was attended by Hong Kil Nam, Vice Chairman of the North P’yo’ngan Provincial People’s Committee, Bang Zhigang, Deputy Governor of the Liaoning Provincial People’s Government, officials of the North P’yo’ngan Provincial People’s Committee and the Sinu’iju municipal government and officials of the Liaoning Provincial People’s government and the Dandong municipal government. The ceremony included a speaking program at which participants said that DPRK and Chinese leadership “reached an agreement on jointly developing and managing the two economic zones, a series of issues have been settled for the development of the Hwanggu’mp’yo’ng Economic Zone, with a substantial progress made.” According to KCNA, ceremony speakers “stressed that the joint development and operation of the zone would be conducive to furthering the DPRK-China friendly relations sealed in blood and attaining co-prosperity.” After the speaking speaking program a commemorative stone (“groundbreaking milestone”) was placed to mark the occasion.
The ground breaking ceremony occurred ten days ahead of the convocation of the 6th session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly [SPA] on 25 September, and weeks ahead of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China [CPC]. It was the first reported public event to occur at Hwanggu’mp’yo’ng Islet since Jang Song Taek returned from a week-long visit to China in August. Hwanggu’mp’yo’ng Island is located at the mouth of the Amnok (Yalu) River between. On 6 June 2011 the SPA designated Hwanggu’mp’yo’ng and several administrative divisions of the city of Sinu’iju and Sindo and U’iju counties as part of a special “economic zone.” On 7 June 2011 Jang Song Taek, joined by Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, attended an event opening the economic zone. Later that month, on 27 June 2011 DPRK Cabinet Premier Choe Yong Rim met with a visiting delegation of the Liaoning Provincial CPC Committee. Hong Kil Nam, the leading DPRK official identified in KCNA’s 15 September 2012 report on the groundbreaking ceremony, was in attendance.