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Two Koreas agree on more family reunions

Posted August. 30, 2000 20:19,   


South and North Korea held two plenary sessions of their second ministerial talks and one chief delegates` meeting on Wednesday in Pyongyang. The two sides agreed to exchange visits of separated families two or three more times within this year. At the inter-Korean talks, the two sides also agreed in principle to hold working-level consultations on providing institutional mechanisms to promote South-North economic cooperation, such as a mutual investment guarantee and avoidance of double taxation. An agreement was reached on holding working-level business contacts in September regarding the joint Gyeongui (Seoul-Shinuiju) Railway reconnection project.

The two sides also reached a consensus on a North Korean proposal for tourist exchanges between the two nations, with South Koreans visiting the North`s Mt. Baekdu in early September and the North Koreans traveling to Mt. Halla on Jeju-do in late September. One hundred tourists from each side will participate in the visits. The agreement also calls for a six night and seven day stay for each tour group and the use of airlines. The expenses for the trips will be borne by the inviting countries. The North and South are scheduled to announce a multiple-point agreement in the form of a joint press statement at the end of the ministerial talks on Thursday.

The Seoul delegation, headed by Unification Minister Park Jae-Kyu, put forward a set of proposals regarding the installation of a military hotline and the holding of inter-Korean defense talks. They also called for the provision of an institutional framework for mutual economic cooperation involving the signing of a mutual investment guarantee pact. The South Korean side also proposed the establishment and operation of subcommittees in charge of the sectional implementation of the inter-Korean summit declaration, a resolution to the issue of South Korean prisoners of war and abducted South Koreans held in the North, additional exchanges of divided families, the re-connection of the Gyeongui Railway and the construction of highways linking Munsan in the South

and Gaeseong in the North. Meanwhile, Jon Kum-Jin, chief Pyongyang delegate, said in his keynote speech that the exchanges of separated families, an accord on the restoration of the Gyeongui Railway, the staging of an inter-Korean table tennis match, the North Korean national symphony orchestra`s performance in Seoul and an agreement between Hyundai Group and the North`s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee on the Gaeseong industrial complex were the major fruits of the historic June 15 inter-Korean summit declaration. He added that Pyongyang would endeavor to implement the joint declaration faithfully.