Cross-Border Agreement Gives Hope to Business

      August 26, 2015 12:35

      An agreement Tuesday between the two Koreas after heightened military tensions revived hopes of more cross-border cooperation.

      Stocks related to economic cooperation between North and South Korea enjoyed a steep surge the same day, and the Federation of Korean Industries welcomed the news.

      But more work lies ahead as the agreement only includes a statement of intent to promote exchanges in the private sector, and there was no mention of concrete projects such as resumption of package tours to Mt. Kumgang.

      Hyundai Merchant Marine, the biggest shareholder in tour operator Hyundai Asan, saw the value of their shares soar 7.83 percent on Tuesday.

      The two Koreas also agreed to hold regular reunions of families separated by the Korean War, which were usually held in Mt. Kumgang. There are also hopes that tour operations to Mt. Kumgang, which were stopped in 2008 after a South Korean tourist was shot dead, will resume.

      Small and medium-sized businesses are hopeful that access to the Kaesong Industrial Complex and investment will increase with the new deal.

      But large conglomerates remain skeptical about resuming business with North Korea, which virtually came to an end after the sinking of the South Korean naval corvette Cheonan in 2010.

      Chun Young-woo, a former presidential secretary for foreign affairs and national security, said, "It's unlikely that inter-Korean economic cooperation will expand immediately when even Chinese businesses are avoiding investment in North Korea."

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