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Moon proposes inter-Korean forestry cooperation  

Posted November. 03, 2021 07:31,   

Updated November. 03, 2021 07:31


South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivered a speech at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), pledging to facilitate an inter-Korean forestry cooperation in an effort to reduce carbon emissions on the Korean Peninsula. Back in 2018, the leaders of the two Koreas agreed on forestry cooperation and issued a joint communique at the Pyongyang summit, but the efforts have been stalling since the collapse of the Hanoi Summit between the United States and North Korea in 2019.

“Forestry cooperation is a way to promote peace in the border region between the South and North,” said President Moon in the keynote speech of the COP26 in Glasgow on Monday.

By bringing up the issue of inter-Korean forestry cooperation at the COP26 Summit, President Moon appears to have suggested to restore inter-Korean and U.S.-North Korea relations to the pre-Hanoi summit state. Senior presidential secretary for public communication Park Soo-hyun said in an interview with Yonhap News on Tuesday that the proposal of inter-Korean forestry cooperation is “very meaningful.” “[Forestry cooperation] may bring the peace process on the Korean Peninsula one step closer, which may in turn set in motion a virtuous cycle of improving the inter-Korean relations and facilitating the U.S.-North Korea negotiations,” said Park.

Meanwhile, North Korea derogates issues such as forestry cooperation and humanitarian assistance as “unimportant matters.” North Korea is reportedly not answering the South Korean government’s suggestion to build a virtual meeting system since the restoration of the cross-border hotline last month.

Although Choe Il, North Korean ambassador to the U.K., joined the Glasgow Climate Change Conference and listened to President Moon’s entire speech, they neither greeted nor had a talk.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com