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China secures right to use 3 piers to be built on N. Korean port for 50 years
SEOUL/BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- China has secured the rights to build three new piers in a special economic zone in North Korea's northeast and use them for 50 years, sources said Wednesday.

   China will also build an airfield and a thermal power plant in the special economic zone known as Rason, as well as a 55-kilometer railway track between China's northeastern city of Tumen and Rason.

   North Korea and China reached an agreement late last year to build infrastructure in Rason with Chinese investment of about US$3 billion, according to the sources in Seoul and Beijing.

   In May, then North Korean leader Kim Jong-il traveled across China to study Beijing's economic reforms, which lifted millions of Chinese out of poverty and helped the country become the world's second-largest economy. Kim died of a heart attack in December and was succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un.

   In 2008, China secured the right to use another pier on Rajin port, expected to reduce the logistics costs of Chinese companies. The North Korean port is located inside the Rason economic zone near the border with China and Russia.

   The North designated Rason a special economic zone in 1991 and has since striven to develop it into a regional transportation hub, although no major progress has yet been made.

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