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Jim Rogers hopes for open inter-Korean border

Jim Rogers (Courtesy of Jim Rogers)
Jim Rogers (Courtesy of Jim Rogers)
US investor Jim Rogers is in the city of Paju, Gyeonggi Province, which includes a portion of the Demilitarized Zone that divides North and South Korea, where he was previously tapped to become an inter-Korean project cooperation adviser.

Rogers arrived in South Korea on Tuesday and was scheduled to sign the related agreement the following day.

In an email interview Wednesday, Rogers expressed hopes for possible peace and exchanges despite the ongoing tug-of-war between the two countries, including North Korea’s recent missile launches earlier this year.

Rogers told The Korea Herald that the “location alone makes it an interesting and important place to visit and know.” He added that “changes are afoot and once the DMZ is open, Paju will be even more exciting.”

Rogers contends that the Korean Peninsula is still a place worthy of investing in. He said the city “is going to be the single most exciting place in the world for a decade or so” if the countries open the border and start to make exchanges.

“There will be many opportunities here once the DMZ is open. I hope I am smart enough to find them (investment opportunities),” said Rogers.

Rogers pointed to numerous merits that he said would come along with an open border.

If the DMZ becomes open and allows exchanges between the two countries, it will greatly alleviate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, according to Rogers, who said Paju is “an area that contains the potential to establish peace and restore national homogeneity.”

“Maybe you could start having short local train and or road excursions. Once people realize the peninsula does not collapse, perhaps events could expand,” Rogers said.

Railway and road connection projects in the future could allow the countries to secure a new growth engine for the economy and help them reach out to markets in Northeast Asia and beyond.

“Once the DMZ is gone, this will be a transportation hub. I will drive from Busan to London. Or perhaps I will take the train!” Rogers said.

But, with the border closed, “South Korea is an isolated island.”

Rogers advised that the countries start with small steps. South Korea and the city of Paju can start with “just small local events at first,” he said. Rogers also urged the city and its residents “to figure out ways to interact with our neighbors across the line even if very small interactions at first.”

If he was in charge, Rogers said he “would first open the DMZ so that people could come and go as well as trade with each other freely.” With a newly opened border and small exchanges, “Good things will start to happen and change.”

By Shim Woo-hyun (ws@heraldcorp.com)
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