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(2nd LD) Two Koreas set for talks on bilateral economic projects

All Headlines 15:43 June 25, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES with ministry official's comments in last 7 paras; MODIFIES lead; ADDS photo)

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- The two Koreas agreed to hold a series of working-level talks on economic cooperation this week, Seoul officials said Monday, as their reconciliatory efforts sparked by an April 27 summit agreement are expanding beyond military and humanitarian arenas.

The two sides plan to have a meeting on linking and modernizing cross-border railways Tuesday at the Peace House, a South Korean administrative building in Panmunjom, according to the Ministry of Unification.

The South plans to send a three-member delegation led by Vice Transport Minister Kim Jeong-ryeol. His counterpart will be Vice Railroad Minister Kim Yun-hyok.

This file photo taken in 2007 shows an inter-Korean cargo train and a convoy of trucks crossing the border. (Yonhap)

The two Koreas are also set for separate talks on road-related cooperation at Tongilgak, a Panmunjom pavilion on the northern side, on Thursday, in which the South will be represented by Kim. The North's top delegate will be Pak Yong-ho, vice minister for environmental protection.

An inter-Korean meeting on forestry cooperation is to take place next Wednesday, but its venue has not been decided yet, the ministry said.

Ryu Kwang-soo, vice minister of the Korea Forest Service, will lead the South's negotiating team, and the North will be represented by Kim Song-jun, senior official at the ministry of environmental protection.

The meetings have been arranged to follow up on an agreement at the two Koreas' high-level talks on June 1.

"Through the sessions on railway, road and forestry cooperation, (we) will faithfully discuss ways to implement the Panmunjom Declaration with a view to lay the groundwork for the sustainable development of South-North relations and the establishment of lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula," the ministry said.

It remains a question as to how substantively the South will discuss economic partnerships with the North, with a wide web of sanctions on the communist neighbor still in place.

Meanwhile, the South is dispatching a team of officials and technical experts this week to the Mount Kumgang resort along the North's east coast to check the conditions for the family reunion event slated for Aug. 20-26.

"Consultations are under way between the South and the North" on the size of the delegation and itinerary, ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said at a press briefing.

Ahead of the previous family reunions held at the same place in October 2015, about a dozen officials made a two-day trip there on a similar mission.

As to the possible cost of repairing the facilities, the two Koreas could share it through separate discussions, he added.


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