UN group wants Japanese funds

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 April, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 April, 2001, 12:00am

A United Nations-backed programme has decided to ask Japan to join its consultative commission in a bid to lure more Japanese funds to help develop the Tumen River area in northeast Asia.

The motion, proposed by China, was endorsed by Mongolia, Russia and South Korea during the annual commission meeting, this year held in the SAR during the past two days.

UN Development Programme deputy regional director for Asia and the Pacific, David Lockwood, said the move could mark the first step towards filling a void of such regional groupings, particularly those with a political dimension, in northeast Asia.

The Tumen development programme, initiated in July 1991, is attempting to develop the river area on the Chinese, Russian and North Korean borders into a roaring regional economic hub.

But many outside observers have labelled it a pipe dream.

By the end of last year, the region had attracted US$1.5 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), or about 3.6 per cent of China's actual FDI. The bulk went to Yanbian in China and Primorsky in Russia, with US$500 million each in the 1990s.

Japanese and South Korean businesses have been the most enthusiastic investors.