Over a dozen Chinese business people wrapped up a week-long trip to Pyongyang Sunday as part of the Global Promotion Project of National Brands, according to a report from one of the project’s co-developers, the Beijing Private Economic Development Association (BPEDA).
The group was scheduled to tour potential investment sites in Pyongyang and Wonsan, hold a “China-DPRK Investment Seminar,” and hold “face-to-face business meetings with [North Korean] company partners,” a pre-trip BPEDA itinerary said.
Photos posted Monday to Chinese social media site Weibo show the group at the Koryo Hotel, the Pyongyang Sci-Tech Complex, and various tourist sites.
Individuals identified in pictures and by BPEDA news articles on the trip include the organization’s Secretary General Zheng Yongge and Vice Presidents Yang Xiyun and Song Xianliang.
But BPEDA members who also serve as leaders of various businesses were also part of the delegation, including cosmetics brand Ejiasu chairwoman Lai Meifang.
The BPEDA said the group was invited to Pyongyang by the National Science and Technology Commission of the DPRK, and arrived in Pyongyang having traveled by train from Dandong on December 18.
An announcement posted in November to the organization’s website – describing the upcoming trip and inviting interested parties to apply to join the tour – credited Kim Jong Un’s three trips to China in 2018 with setting the stage for increased economic cooperation.
It characterized the delegation as a response to DPRK “government reform” plans, saying it was organized “in order to promote in-depth economic and cultural exchanges and extensive cooperation between China and the DPRK.”
“The delegation will bring the DPRK people advanced domestic technology, national brands, and high-quality products,” the BPEDA statement read.
During the delegation’s trip, it said, “nearly 100 figures from all walks of life, such as DPRK leaders, ministry leaders, local government officials, and major associations, will be gathered together to discuss friendship and cooperation … [over] infrastructure, commercial real estate, park development, food, agriculture, trade, manufacturing, and other projects.”
After being welcomed with a performance put on by the Korean Science and Technology Commission on the first day, participants the next day were expected to attend a “China-DPRK Investment Seminar” with leaders of the Light Industry Department of the Science and Technology Committee introducing the investment environment.
There, members from the Chinese side would introduce industry development, investment intentions, and national brands, and the two sides would initiate business-to-business (B2B) connections, according to the BPEDA itinerary.
On day three, the group was expected to travel to Wonsan to conduct “investment site inspections” of “resorts, seafood processing plants, department stores and other projects.”
On December 22, the delegation was scheduled to visit the now-shuttered Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC).
Rounding out the trip, participants were expected to hold “face-to-face business meetings with [North Korean] company partners,” before signing letters of intent at the Koryo Hotel.
The business tour follows other signs of continued joint economic activity between Pyongyang and Beijing despite no change in UN Security Council sanctions enforcement requirements, which include provisions outlawing joint ventures with North Korea.
Featured image: Weibo user 燕赵发言仁
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