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Another South Korean Delegation to Visit Pyongyang

Posted April. 23, 2007 04:33,   


Following former Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan’s visit to North Korea in early March, another South Korean delegation will visit Pyongyang early next month.

The delegation that will be led by Uri Party lawmaker Kim Hyuk-kyu will stop by the Gaeseong Industrial Park before arriving in Pyongyang.

The delegation includes senior officials of Korea`s five major business organizations, such as Sohn Kyung-shik, the chairman of the Korea Chamber of Commerce, Chung Dae-kun, chairman of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation, Lee Won-gul, chairman of the Korea Electric Power Corp., and Kim Won-chang, the chairman of the Korea Coal Corp. Much attention has been paid to the purpose and background of their visit.

Rep. Kim has been pushing for the visit through discussions with Cheong Wa Dae since Lee returned from Pyongyang; Rep. Bae Ki-sun, Rep Lee Hwa-young, and Rep Kim Jong-yull will accompany Kim, according to multiple sources on Monday.

Some speculate that Lee Hwa-young, who accompanied Lee Hae-chan during the visit to Pyongyang in March, may have visited Pyongyang again between the 18th and 21st of this month to discuss the detailed schedule and agenda of their “early May visit to Pyongyang.”

“The new delegation will check the possibility of establishing an inter-Korean economic community, and new opportunities opened up after the February 13 agreement adopted at the six-party talks,” according to a source. “Unlike Lee Hae-chan, who went to Pyongyang via China, they are discussing ways for the delegation to arrive in Pyongyang via the Gaeseong Industrial Park using the highway.”

Many politicians believe that the intention behind the delegation’s visit to Pyongyang is related to Cheong Wa Dae’s attempt to hold an inter-Korean summit.

“This is the best time to discuss an inter-Korean summit considering the international politics surrounding the Korean peninsula and inter-Korean relations. I think the environment and conditions are ripe for a summit talk. If Lee cannot produce a positive and tangible outlook for the summit talk, he doesn’t have a reason to visit Pyongyang as the representative of the party at this crucial time when the political situation both inside and outside the Korean Peninsula is dramatically changing,” said Kim on March 8 when Lee was staying in Pyongyang.

Some analysts believe that the new deletion’s visit will help establish inter-Korean economic cooperation and a peaceful atmosphere which will eventually lead to the announcement of an inter-Korean summit.