Go to contents

[Focus] Gap narrows at inter-Korea ministerial talks

Posted December. 15, 2000 18:50,   


Participants in the fourth inter-Korean ministerial level talks began narrowing their differences during their third meeting on Thursday. As if to symbolize the sudden change in attitude, the North made informal requests for aid, particularly in the area of power generation, and proposed various joint business projects, the signing of a cooperative fishing agreement, and the exchange and joint promotion of the Korean martial art taekwondo.

Currently facing a serious power shortage, the North reiterated its earlier request for aid in supplying itself with electrical power, having first broached the topic during the third inter-Korean ministerial talks in September. The North's main hydraulic power generator facility (700,000 kW) has lost much of its capability due to wear and tear over the years, and of the electric power generated, China as co-operator of the facility takes 90 percent.

The North's repeated request could be taken as an attempt to gauge the mood in the South, where a public backlash against what is seen as an unequal cross-border relationship and the faltering South Korean economy may be prompting concerns in Pyongyang.

The prospect of a cooperative fishing pact seems bright as the North first showed interest in such a venture in February, when it was discussed by the South's National Fishers¡¯ Alliance and the North's People's Economic Cooperation Alliance.

According to delegates to the talks, exchanges of taekwondoists were proposed in order to prevent the further divergence of forms of the martial art in the South and North. The delegates visit to a martial arts training facility in the North also seem to have been a lead-up to the proposal.