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N.Korea revises law to boost international railway cooperation with foreign nations: report

North Korea has revised a law to help the isolated country expand railway cargo cooperation with foreign countries and attract investment, a report said Wednesday.

According to the report by the Korea Transport Institute (KOTI), Pyongyang changed its international railroad cargo law in December 2011 that regulates contracts, damage claims, fares, restrictions and dispute settlements.

The North had created its first railway law in 1987, but this revision marks the first related to cooperation with foreign countries, it said.

“The changes in particular are noteworthy because it outlines investment protection and pledges that the government will legally uphold the rights of investors and their interests,” the transportation institute said.

Pyongyang will take administrative and legal actions against people who obstruct international rail traffic, and promises to take disputes that cannot be settled through negotiations to court or through a binding arbitration process, it added.

The think tank, meanwhile, said that the changes were primarily made to transform the port of Rajin near the Chinese and Russian borders into a regional logistics hub.

Last month the North announced the reopening of a railway service linking Rajin with the Russian city of Khasan. Work on the railway line took five years to complete.

In addition to the railway law, KOTI said Pyongyang has shown interest in attracting foreign investors who will carry out so-called built-operate-transfer contracts, aimed at modernizing the country‘s dilapidated infrastructure.

“The move by the North to emphasize profitability reflects signs that the country is becoming more open to the outside world compared to the past,” said Chang Yong-seok, senior researcher at the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University.

He said such changes aim to entice much needed foreign investment by offering actual profits. (Yonhap News)

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