Seoul Prepares for Inter-Korean Summit

  • By Jeong Woo-sang

    March 13, 2018 13:06

    Cheong Wa Dae will this week start preparing for an inter-Korean summit scheduled for late April to hold working-level talks with North Korea to discuss the agenda, government officials said on Monday.

    Cheong Wa Dae has said the key point to be discussed will be denuclearization, but now that U.S. President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, President Moon Jae-in may be able to focus on other matters too.

    Government officials speculated that Moon will try to come up with ways to ease military tensions and promote economic cooperation.

    One possible suggestion could be to create a "peace zone" on the West Sea that was mooted by former President Roh Moon-hyun when he met then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in 2007. It envisions a special economic zone in the North's Haeju and a joint fishery zone around the Northern Limit Line, de facto maritime border.

    President Moon Jae-in speaks in a meeting with senior advisers at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Monday. /Yonhap

    Moon laid out a bigger vision during his campaign that envisages building an economic belt linking Russia on the East Sea and China on the West Sea through North Korea. But that depends on a détente on the Korean Peninsula.

    At the moment not much can be done because South Korea is bound by UN Security Council sanctions against the North. Last week Moon pledged that Seoul has "no plan to ease sanctions on the North for the sake of the inter-Korean summit."

    Some owners of factories in the now-shuttered joint Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex applied last month to visit the industrial park but failed.

    They asked the North to allow them to check the facilities and equipment they left behind when the complex was shut in 2016 but got no response by Monday, the day they wished to visit, according to the Unification Ministry. 

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