North Korea has shut down a military-run company tasked with attracting foreign investment due to its poor performance, as the regime tries to rein in the army, according to a report.
Chosun Ilbo newspaper, citing a South Korean government source, on Monday said the Taepung International Investment Group — created in 2009 by approval of the powerful National Defence Commission — was recently closed down.
“Taepung, when it first opened, had an ambitious goal to solicit foreign investment of $10 billion in 2010 and $120 billion within five years but made little progress,” said the source quoted by Chosun.
The shutdown was also intended to curb the military that had grown too powerful under the late ruler Kim Jong-Il, it said, adding the Committee of Investment and Joint Ventures under the cabinet would be given greater power.
Jong-Il’s youngest son Jong-Un took over after his father’s death last December and sacked the military chief last month, replacing him with a little-known general and promoting himself to marshal.
Taepung was behind efforts to attract new foreign investment to the Mount Kumgang resort, by inviting foreign journalists and tourists to a cruise there in August 2011.
The resort, jointly developed with the South, opened in 1998. But the South banned trips by its nationals after a North Korean soldier shot dead a woman who strayed into a military zone in 2008.