Hyundai announced Friday that it has reached an agreement with North Korean authorities to jointly develop the Mt. Kumkang region as a specially designated international economic zone. The nation¡¯s largest business group also announced plans to develop a Mount Kumkang Valley area patterned after Silcon Valley.
Hyundai Asan president Kim Yoon-kyu, a member of the Hyundai entourage accompanying group founder Jung Ju-yung on his recent trip to North Korea, told reporters upon returning Friday said the two parties had reached a number of agreements Thursday in a meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

According to Kim, Hyundai and North Korea agreed to speed up a major project for the construction of an industrial complex along the west coast of North Korea, adding that the city of Kaesung has been added to the list of possible sites for the complex that already includes Shineuiju, Nampo and Haeju.

Hyundai and North Korean authorities have thus far limited activity in the Mt. Kumkang area to tourism, but with the declaration of the region as a special economic zone, they are hoping to transform it into an international center for trade, finance, culture and arts.

According to proposals for the development of Mt. Kumkang Valley, both parties will move ahead with R&D in the area of cutting-edge technologies utilizing North Korean manpower.

Kim did not, however, disclose the details of how Hyundai would raise and provide funds for any of the above projects.