Go to contents

Inter-Korean Economic Talks to be Held on Aug. 26

Posted August. 14, 2002 22:12,   


South and North Korea agreed to hold the second Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee (ECPC) meeting from the 26th to 29th in Seoul and the fourth Red Cross meeting from Sep. 4 to Sep. 6 in Mt. Geumgang. Both sides are expected to discuss the reconnection of the cross-border railway and road in the ECPC meeting and the establishment and operation plans of a permanent meeting spot for separated families in the Red Cross meeting. The fifth round of family reunion will be held in Mt. Geumgang around Chuseok, the Korean version of Thanksgiving Day. Both sides will meet with each other in Panmunjeom to discuss the size of the delegations and the procedures of the reunion.

South and North Korea also decided to take military measures necessary for a smooth progress in relinking the inter-Korean railway, and to hold military talks as soon as possible. Alongside, two Koreans agreed to hold a working-level meeting to jointly investigate the condition of the Geumgansan dam in mid September.

Both sides released a joint statement including these agreements in the 3rd general meeting of the 7th inter-Korean ministerial talks in Hotel Shilla located in downtown Seoul. The 8th ministerial talks are scheduled to be held in Pyeongyang from Oct. 19 to Oct. 22.

In accordance with the agreement that both sides reached in this round of talks, a number of cooperative projects between two Koreas are expected to be further promoted, and dialogues between North Korea and the US and between North Korea and Japan would gain momentum.

But the South Korean government failed to set the date for military talks at the working-level for the inter-Korean railway project, facing a snag to its initial plan to complete the project with this year. Opening of inter-Korean military talks were the government`s top priority for the ministerial talks.

In particular, South Korea announced that two Korean would hold military talks at an earliest date, but North Korea only said that they would recommend military talks to military authorities, signaling a renewed controversy over this issue.

A senior-official of the talks said, however, "The joint investigation into the condition of the Geumgangsan dam, which is under the control of the North Korean military authorities. So if the agreements made in the talks are smoothly implemented, the likelihood that two Koreas discuss military cooperation will grow higher."

Regarding to the exchange of Taegweondo exhibition teams proposed by North Korea, South Korean exhibition team will visit Pyeongyang in mid September, while its North Korean counterpart will visit Seoul in late October.

Meanwhile, South and North Korea agreed to simultaneously embark on the relinking construction of the Gyeongeui and Donghae railways and road. But they will set the date later in the 2nd ECPC meeting after considering all the possible technological problems.

Both sides are expected to discuss ways to provide 300,000 to 500,000 tons of rice for North Korea as economic aid, to construct an industrial complex in Gaesung, to prevent flood around the Imjin River, and to promoted inter-Korean economic cooperation in the proposed round of ECPC meeting.

Both sides also saw eye to eye in setting cooperative measures to successfully host the inter-Korean soccer games and to smoothly carry out a working-level negotiation for the 14th Busan Asian Games.

After announcing the joint statement, the North Korean delegation headed by Kim Ryoung-sung left for the North side of the peninsula with the South Korean delegation to the Liberation Day Festivities, which are being jointly held in both Koreas.

Young-Sik Kim spear@donga.com esprit@donga.com