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China Plans Tourism Zone With North Korea and Russia

The Tumen River is seen at the border between North Korea and China.

China is planning an international tourism zone in its northeastern border area with Russia and North Korea, state news agency Xinhua said Friday, in Pyongyang's latest push for new investment.

Jiang Chaoliang, governor of China's northeastern Jilin province, said the province would draw up a blueprint for the Tumen River Delta international tourism area this year, according to Xinhua.

The Tumen River divides China and North Korea.

Officials are exploring a management model of the tourism zone that would involve China, Russia and North Korea. Visitors shall enter the tourism zone without visas and shopping shall be duty-free, Xinhua said, citing officials.

In the long run, South Korea, Japan and Mongolia will join the tourism area via highways, railways and air routes, Xinhua said, citing Zhao Xiaojun, director of Jilin Provincial Tourism Administration.

The initiative was put forward by the Hunchun city government in Jilin in 2013.

The zone is the latest push by North Korea to transform itself into a tourist attraction — a move with potential economic gains in the short-term that avoids restructuring ailing industrial plants.

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