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Inter-Korean maritime pact eyed

Posted January. 10, 2001 20:37,   


The government disclosed Wednesday that it plans to conclude an agreement this year on maritime transport with North Korea so as to smooth bilateral distribution of goods by sea.

Related government officials said in this regard that due to the delay in normalizing regular freight shipments between Inchon and North Korea's Nampo port, inter-Korean distribution of goods was facing difficulties and mutual trade and economic cooperation were being hampered. They said it was necessary for the two Koreas to deal with such problems at the projected South-North ministerial talks or the inter-Korean economic cooperation commission talks.

The officials also stressed that in order to manage the projected Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North and expand bilateral economic cooperation; inter-Korean freight transport systems must be improved, adding that the South-North maritime transport agreement would help facilitate this end.

Since November last year, the North has inexplicably prohibited ships operated by South Korea's Hansong Shipping from entering Nampo to load and unload cargoes. One Hansong marine company ship, which was laden with raw materials for processing, entered Nampo harbor on Dec. 16 but was prevented from accessing its wharf. As of Wednesday, the ship is still waiting permission to enter.