South Korea set to resume talks with North
SEOUL: The new South Korean government under President Moon Jae-in is planning to resume economic co-operation with North Korea and legalise an inter-Korean agreement.
The move was unveiled yesterday in a five-year plan for state management inaugurated on May 10, according to the presidential Blue House.
During his five-year term, Moon is planning to resume economic co-operation with Pyongyang, while pursuing a so-called “new economic roadmap in the Korean Peninsula” as part of a growth engine for the economy.
The new roadmap refers to the creation of three economic belts in the peninsula, including an energy belt in the East Sea, a logistics belt in the West Sea and a tourism belt inside the demilitarised zone that divides the two Koreas.
The South Korean government will also consider normalising the Kaesong Industrial Complex and resuming tours of Mount Kumgang as part of the five-year plan.
The inter-Korean factory park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong was closed down under the Park Geun-hye government following Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test last January.
Tours to the North’s scenic resort of Mount Kumgang, launched in 1998, were suspended in July 2008 when a South Korean female tourist was shot dead by a North Korean soldier after allegedly venturing into an off-limits area.
To resolve pending issues between the two Koreas, Seoul plans to restore communication channels with Pyongyang and resume talks about military and humanitarian affairs, sports and cultural exchanges, and economic co-operation.
The Moon government will push for a new “basic agreement” with the North while respecting existing inter-Korean agreements, and will seek to legalise the new agreement by getting approval in the National Assembly and support at the UN General Assembly.
The push for the new agreement will be made through bi-partisan co-operation when the right conditions have been created, according to the five-year plan.
On Monday, Seoul offered to hold talks with Pyongyang about a reunion event and military affairs, but the North has yet to respond.
A journalist takes a photograph of a South Korean soldier standing guard at the truce village of Panmunjom, South Korea, yesterday.