BEIJING/SHENYANG, China, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- China has dispatched a large group of economic officials to North Korea in a bid to find ways to boost joint North Korea-China economic zones, which reportedly remain largely inactive due to a lack of investment, sources said Wednesday.
The sources well versed in North Korea-China relations said that China sent about 70 commerce officials from Jilin Province to the North several months ago as part of the country's efforts to invigorate the joint economic zones in the North Korean city of Rajin and the islands of Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa.
"The dispatched officials discussed (with the North) a possible management system for the special economic zones and legal guidelines as well as ways to lure foreign investment," a source in China said. "They provided China's knowhow (secured) during its reform drive in the last 30 years."
The officials are presently traveling between Pyongyang and Sinuiju, the North's northwestern city bordering China to hold discussions over various development projects, other sources said.
The sending of experts came after the neighboring countries held talks in August over the North's economic zones. The North reportedly sought to secure China's investment and work to improve these zones.
Jang Song-thaek, the powerful uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, visited China and his meeting with China's Commerce Minister Chen Deming was reported to have secured China's cooperation.
In a bid to kick-start the special zones, China is nudging the North to reduce its control over the zone, the sources said.
China's vice commerce minister, Yi Xiaozhun, also visited Pyongyang on Monday for North Korea-China economic and trade talks.
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