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Koreas agree on economic cooperation framework

Posted August. 31, 2000 20:48,   


On Friday, the last day of the second inter-Korean ministerial talks held in Pyongyang, South and North Korea agreed to provide a framework for mutual economic cooperation by completing an investment guarantee and pacts on the avoidance of double taxation, dispute arbitration, liquidation and settlement and related matters. To this end, the two sides decided to hold a working-level meeting in early September. They also reached a five-point agreement that included a provision on staging the third ministerial talks in early October in Seoul.

The two sides agreed to hold working-level consultations in the middle of next month on re-linking the Seoul-Sinuiju Railway and the construction of a new highway between Munsan and Gaeseong in the North. Agreeing to implement the divided family reunion program two more times within the year, they decided to discuss details of the project at the inter-Korean Red Cross meeting slated for early September. The proposed exchange of South and North Korean tourists to the North`s Mt. Baekdu and the South`s Mt. Halla will take place in the middle of September and late September, respectively.

However, no accord was reached on Seoul¡¯s proposals for the opening of an inter-Korean military hotline and inter-Korean defense talks, although Seoul chief delegate Park Jae-Kyu and his Pyongyang counterpart Jon Kum-Jin had informal contacts to address the issues.

As a result, the two sides failed to release a joint statement this morning as scheduled, and the accord will be delayed until late this afternoon. Earlier in the day, the Korean delegation paid a courtesy call on Kim Yong-Nam, chairman of the presidium of North Korea¡¯s Supreme People`s Assembly, at the Mansudae Assembly Hall and chatted with him for about 30 minutes. After this, the delegates participated in a luncheon. During the meeting, Kim said that he was expecting to meet President Kim Dae-Jung again at the UN General Assembly and exchange views on inter-Korean problems. He also noted that the President is struggling to implement the June 15 Inter-Korean Summit Declaration despite his advanced age.