Pyongyang has agreed to develop a joint economic zone with Beijing, according to the North Korean state news agency, KCNA, quoting Japanese newspaper reports of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly’s decree promulgated on Monday. The zone will be set up the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Islands in the North Korean side of the Yalu River estuary, which forms the border between the two countries. Ground is expected to be broken on the project this week. The project was reportedly discussed during Kim Jong Il’s visit to China last month. It marks another small step to draw North Korea into China’s orbit and expose Pyongyang to the benefits of economic reform along its own lines.