Inter-Korea economic projects to be linked to denuclearization

Inter-Korea economic projects to be linked to denuclearization

May 17 (UPI) — South Korea said it will be linking any inter-Korea economic cooperation projects with progress on denuclearization, a day after North Korea issued warning statements targeting joint exercises and U.S. officials.

Seoul’s Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyun told South Korean lawmakers Thursday economic cooperation plans will not be pursued independently of developments on the nuclear front, local newspaper SP News reported.

Cho was briefing parliamentarians on “follow-up measures” in the wake of the April 27 inter-Korea summit.

Economic cooperation will continue to be pursued and plans are underway to “collect experts’ opinions” and initiate interagency collaborations for what would eventually be an inter-Korea team of joint researchers, Cho said.

“The inter-Korea economic cooperation project will be prepared under the framework of the Korean Peninsula New Economic Plan,” the minister said.

The plans will be made during close consultations on denuclearization with countries like the United States, following the scheduled June 12 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Some of the plans may have been on the agenda for high-level talks between North and South that were canceled on Wednesday.

North Korea called off the meeting at the last minute, then issued statements blaming U.S. officials for unilateral statements on denuclearization and joint exercises for ruining the atmosphere for talks.

But Cho said Thursday the government will continue to pursue high-level talks to continue with projects that include a joint liaison office, a North-South event for June 15 and family reunions in August.

Many South Korean civic groups have been inspired by the gestures of reconciliation they saw on live television during the April 27 summit.

News 1 reported Thursday a group of students at South Korea’s top Seoul National University has stated plans to promote “exchange and cooperation” with North Korea’s Kim Il Sung University.

The students want a program that will allow them to visit the university and explore Pyongyang’s history, according to the report.