After 52 years of seclusion, Asia's hermit state is about to roll out a welcome mat for visitors. Foreigners, including South Koreans, will have visa-free access to Sinuiju, North Korea's new capitalist enclave, from next Tuesday. The historic step by one of the world's most xenophobic nations was confirmed yesterday by Pyongyang's consulate in Shenyang, in northeast China, which said it had agreed in principle to drop barriers to entry. Yang Bin, the Chinese-born tycoon appointed chief executive of the 132 square kilometre special administrative region last Tuesday, said yesterday that the new arrangements would begin next Tuesday. On Friday, he had said visa-free entry would begin yesterday, but a group of South Korean and Japanese reporters in Shenyang hoping to enter the SAR was unable to do so. 'We have agreed in principle to this,' said an official of the North Korean consulate in Shenyang. 'Yang is the chief executive. It is up to him to decide who to let into his SAR. This will include South Koreans. But we have not yet received concrete instructions on how to do this. These should come very quickly.' Until now, only Chinese tourists have been allowed to enter North Korea without a passport and then only in groups that were organised and subject to 24-hour official surveillance. Once the visitors enter North Korea they discover they have embarked on a 'holiday' unlike that in any other country, one travel agent said. They must go in a group that is accompanied by a tour guide and an agent of the secret police whose job is to ensure the guide does and says nothing that is against the regulations. The visitors must agree to strict rules. One is that they may take photographs only of approved places, which exclude street scenes, the view from trains, ordinary people and especially members of the police and the Korean People's Army. They are not allowed to visit the homes of ordinary Koreans and may stay only in hotels approved for foreigners. They may not mention political topics and may ask questions only that relate to their tour. One Chinese tour guide said he was sceptical about the success of the SAR in Sinuiju. He said: 'When I ask Koreans about whether they will continue their idea of juche [self-reliance] after the SAR is set up, they say that juche will remain in their country for ever and that Yang Bin [the SAR chief executive] is only in charge of economic matters. How can you have an SAR like that?' Mr Yang said he was considering appointing one or two South Koreans in the SAR's 15-member legislature. He has said more than half its members would be not from North Korea - part of the transformation of Sinuiju into a European-style city of more than one million people. 'I am currently consulting with international banking organisations to bring in investment,' he added. Mr Yang, 39, a Dutch citizen, is the head of Hong Kong-listed agricultural conglomerate Euro-Asia Industrial. Chinese may have more freedom to travel in North Korea than others, readers of most mainland newspapers are not learning of the startling developments on their nation's border. The Communist Party's propaganda department has banned use of Mr Yang's name, which has persuaded most papers to ignore the news or cover it briefly, omitting his name. A journalist said the government was investigating Mr Yang for tax irregularities.