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‘May 24 measure’ halting inter-Korean exchange to be lifted

‘May 24 measure’ halting inter-Korean exchange to be lifted

Posted August. 19, 2013 03:36,   


The South Korean government will reportedly revoke the May 24 (2010) measure of sanctions against the North, which completely halted inter-Korean exchange, through talks between the South and North Korean authorities.

A source at the South Korean government said Sunday, “Talks will be convened between South and North Korean authorities to discuss withdrawal of the May 24 measure.”

The May 24 measure was a kind of declaration meant to sever ties between the two Koreas, which then President Lee Myung-bak announced in 2010 through his public statement after the sinking of South Korean naval vessel Cheonan by the North’s torpedo attacks. The measure calls for a complete ban of the following five issues: North Korean vessels’ navigation through South Korean waters, inter-Korean trade, South Korean nationals’ visit to the North, the South’s new investments in the North, and South Korea’s aid programs for the North.

Another government source of the South said, “The government will not officially announce withdrawal of the May 24 measure at present, but because the two Koreas agreed to internationalize the Kaesong Industrial Park in the North through their agreement to normalize the industrial complex on Wednesday last week, we can say that process is effectively underway to end the May 24 measure.” That is, as the two Koreas agreed on inducement of foreign companies to the inter-Korean complex and proactive participation in investor relations sessions in their agreement to normalize the complex, part of the May 24 measure that bans South Koreans’ new investment in the North can be effectively construed as having been withdrawn.”

The South Korean government judges that in the wake of the normalization of the Kaesong complex, environment has been prepared to push for the Korean Peninsula trust-building process. Hence, Seoul is reportedly planning to push for exchange in non-political, social and cultural exchange including religion and sports before other areas. Also, South Korea recently allowed its civilian organizations that received approval for their aid to the North to visit the Stalinist country to monitor (if aid supplies are properly transferred). Seoul reportedly judges that phased withdrawal of the May 24 measure will inevitably be necessary because strictly speaking, this kind of visits can also run counter to the May 24 measure that bans visits to areas in the North other than the Kaesong complex and the Mount Kumgang tourism district.

The South Korean government, however, judges that in order for the May 24 measure to be officially lifted, consultations through dialogue between the South and North Korean authorities should take place. The reason for this is that during last year’s presidential election, then candidate Park Geun-hye’s election camp announced its stance that “Only when the North takes a responsible measure that could be acceptable to the South Korean people, can the May 24 measure be lifted.” An official at the Seoul government said, “We will secure (from Pyongyang) a responsible measure in line with new principles and approaches towards the North that the Park Geun-hye administration has displayed in the course of normalizing the Kaesong complex.”