North Korea has designated 14 new special economic development zones this year, a more than three-fold increase from the current number, a media report showed Wednesday.
According to an article carried on the official website of the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), an academician from the prestigious Kim Il-sung University confirmed the sharp increase in the development zones, up from the current four operational zones in the country.
The daily did not give the names of the new sites, although it said that legal regulations, administrative support, development and management of such regions are all in place.
Pyongyang has been moving to create development zones ever since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called on regional governments to create special zones in each city and province during a meeting of WPK members in late March.
The leader who took power after the death of his father nearly two years ago has emphasized the importance of building up the country's industrial base.
North Korea currently has four special economic zones: the Hwanggumpyong and Wihwa islands, Kaesong Industrial Complex, Mount Kumgang region and Rason.
Pyongyang watchers in the South, meanwhile, said that the North set aside Wonsan and Mount Chilbo as special tourism regions along with Kangryong Country on the southwestern coast this year.
Experts added that the communist country created a special high-tech technology development zone in Kaesong separate from the joint factory park in the same border city that is currently home to 123 South Korean factories.