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N. and S. Korea`s Construction Project To Be Launched In Earnest Next Month

N. and S. Korea`s Construction Project To Be Launched In Earnest Next Month

Posted January. 27, 2003 22:51,   


Yesterday, North and South Korea signed up a military agreement, which guarantees safe passage through the DMZ over Kyungui and Donghae highway, the two highways supposed to be used for the construction purposes. As a result, from next month, various projects being pursued by North and South will be launched in earnest through two roads on the eastern (Donghae Hwy.) and western part (Kyungui Hwy.). At issues are such projects as initiation of Mt. Kumkang tourism over the land, connection of Kyungui railroad, and construction of Gaesung Industrial Complex.

In a press conference, Chong Kwong-il, Defense Ministry`s official in charge of the DMZ area, confirmed, "North and South Korean military authorities held a working-level talks at Panmunkak, the part of Panmunjom controlled by North Korea. The representatives of both sides signed up an interim agreement to guarantee safe passage over the roads running through the eastern and western part of the DMZ. Accordingly, we expect facilitation of various projects like connection of Kyungui and Donghae railroads, construction of Gaesung Industrial Complex, and the overland Mt. KumKang tourism."

He continued, "Both sides also agreed that the areas jointly managed by North and South Korea constitute part of the MDZ, and, therefore, the truce agreement will be applied to all incidents arising out of the passage. North Korea will continue to recognize the jurisdiction of the U.N. Command over the MDL for the purpose of passage through the DMZ."

Before the latest agreement, North Korea had insisted on exclusion of the U.N. Command`s jurisdiction over passage through the DMZ. Specifically, it argued for inclusion of a provision, which read "Both parties [i.e. North and South Korea] resolve issues in consultation with each other," into the agreement, giving priority to any agreement of the two Koreas over the Command`s jurisdiction.

Under the latest agreement, either side is supposed to permit the passage of the other side, as long as the time, number of people and other equipment to be passed are notified in advance.

One military officer said, "This agreement, even though limited to the passage of the temporary roads, will hopefully pave the way for a broader military agreement in kind, once the highways and railroads are completed."

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com