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Electricity for N. Korea needs popular consent: Government

Electricity for N. Korea needs popular consent: Government

Posted December. 18, 2000 20:30,   


The government said Monday that the electric power requested by North Korea will be given provided it receives approval from the people and endorsement from the opposition. Approval would also be subject to a factual survey of the power situation in the North.

According to a government source, North Korea demanded that the press statement released at the end of the recent fourth round of cabinet-level talks in Pyongyang last week include a promise from the South to supply 500,000 kilowatts of electricity to the North early next year. The South turned down the request and insisted that the issue should be raised at a separate, inter-Korean economic panel to be set up later.

The North Korean delegation to the ministerial talks called for the provision of South Korean electricity aid, citing power shortages in the North and referring to unsatisfactory progress in inter-Korean relations following the June summit and delays in the construction of light-water reactors by Western powers, the government source disclosed. He added that the Southern delegation made it clear that the provision of electricity could be undertaken after due scrutiny of the situation by the proposed economic cooperation body and an expression of the South Korean people's support for the plan.

As things stand, the first session of the economic panel, to be convened toward the close of the year in Pyongyang, is expected to see friction arising from North Korea's demand for the immediate provision of power and the South's cautious attitude toward the issue.

Ha Tae-Won scooop@donga.com