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South Korea Offers Electricity to North if It Scraps Its Nuclear Program

South Korea Offers Electricity to North if It Scraps Its Nuclear Program

Posted July. 13, 2005 04:12,   


The government declared on July 12 that it would provide North Korea with two million kilowatts of electric power from 2008 if it scrapped its nuclear program.

That amount is big enough to significantly ease power shortages in both industrial and private sectors in the North. Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, who is also the chairman of the Standing Committee of the ROK National Security Council held a press conference this afternoon at the Central Government Complex in Sejongno, Jongno-gu, Seoul and made remarks about the North Korea agenda on helping the North’s economy turn around through supplying power.

The government’s agenda is a massive energy assistance project to replace the two reactors rated at one million kilowatts whose construction was stalled after measures carried out according to the 1994 Geneva Convention. The agenda is to be led by South Korea with participation of the related parties, namely, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia. It also said, regarding the resumption of providing heavy oil, which has been stalled ever since the U.S. made an issue of North Korea scrapping the convention, the related parties are to provide tens of thousands of tons of heavy oil to the North every month.

The government’s plan included that the capital needed to construct transmission lines in North Korea is to be attracted by China and Japan. In addition, South Korea and China are to provide the North with coal via roads and railways.

The agenda also suggested that South Korea’s extra rice be sent to the North and that the South build fertilizer plants in the North to fundamentally resolve food crises there. Meanwhile, it also recommended the construction of a massive farm around Primorsky Kray to encourage North Korean farmers to immigrate there.

The government also came up with ideas to boost the development of the North’s special economic zones, including the Najin-Sonbong special economic zone and the Sinuiju special administration region, which have showed sluggish performance even though North Korea opened the areas to attract foreign capital. Moreover the government suggested the idea of connecting Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR) and the Trans-Korea Railway (TKR), making the North a logistic hub in Northeast Asia.

In the afternoon, the government held a National Security Council meeting presided over by President Roh Moo-hyun at Chung Wa Dae and decided to disclose its North Korea agenda as the North decided to return to the fourth round of six-party talks to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com