Seoul to use interKorean economic coop. to promote peace process

TOKYO, South Korea pledged Monday to try to use interKorean economic cooperation as catalyst to move the peace process with North Korea, Yonhap News Agency reported.

“It is time for us to reap the fruits of peace that we have sown so far. We need to seize the opportunity for coprosperity of the South and the North,” newly appointed Unification Minister Kim Yeonchul was quoted as saying in his inauguration speech.

South Korea wants to push for various crossborder projects with North Korea on the hope that they could incentivize Pyongyang to return to the negotiating table, but the US balks at the idea as it could undermine the global sanctions regime against the North amid little progress in nuclear talks, the report said. Seoul closed an industrial complex in the North’s border town of Kaesong in 2016 in retaliation for the North’s nuclear and missile provocations.

Kim emphasized the importance of building interKorean relations in a consistent manner. “By advancing and institutionalizing interKorean relations, we should lay the firm foundation toward our people’s aspiration for peaceful unification. Kim also said that there should be an outcome that people can see in the process of establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula.

He noted, however, the resumption of such crossborder projects as the Kaesong industrial park will not be possible without resolving issues related to sanctions on North Korea, adding that he will seek solutions on the issue through close consultation with the US.

Source: Kuwait News Agency