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Ministries preparing for inter-Korean cooperation.

With the historic summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump adding to expectation that the inter-Korean economic cooperation will gain momentum, government ministries are preparing for further progress. Ministries that will be involved in diverse inter-Korean cooperation projects have either set up or are planning to form taskforces.

They are assigning the task to competent officials whose capabilities have been confirmed. Such preparations follow the determination that the government should make pre-emptive preparations, although inter-Korean economic cooperation will only see progress after the lifting of international sanctions.

The finance ministry, for instance, has its Inter-Korean Economic Relations Division under the International Economic Affairs Bureau, whose tasks include bilateral economic cooperation. The team was out of the spotlight during the former conservative administrations which were at odds with North Korea, but it is likely to be expanded in a government reshuffle that is expected to come following the local elections.

The ministry recently appointed a budget expert to lead the team He will be in charge of allocating budgets to diverse joint economic projects. If the international community agrees, the government can inject part of the budget located for official development assistance (ODA) into North Korea, on top of the near 1 trillion won fund for inter-Korean economic cooperation.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy is examining joint projects that late former President Roh Moo-hyun and former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il agreed to back in 2007. President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed during their historic summit in April to execute projects agreed upon back then.

This includes setting up a special economic zone and developing natural resources in North Korea The ministry set up a taskforce team in charge of inter-Korean cooperation within its Overseas Investment Division, and charged an elite official with the task. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport has much expectation as it will be in charge of linking railways and roads with North Korea A joint project to build a highway between North Korea's Gaeseong and Munsan in the South came to a halt due to souring relations back in 2016.

The agriculture ministry is also considering setting up a taskforce, and the Korea Forest Service is also expecting a role as deforestation is a serious problem in North Korea State-run economic think tanks are also preparing for the big picture. Korea Development Institute (KDI) expanded the Department of Economic Policy Strategy in a recent reshuffle, to include the Office of North Korean Economic Studies and strengthen research on North Korea The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) recently launched the KIEP Korean Peninsula New Economy Forum, which will analyze rapidly changing inter-Korean economic relations and assist the Moon administration's plans for economic cooperation with North Korea as well as China and Russia Experts in trade and inter-Korean issues will be meeting every quarter in the forum .

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Publication:The Korea Times News (Seoul, Korea)
Date:Jun 12, 2018
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