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Parliamentary panel on inter-Korean economic cooperation sets sail

All Headlines 16:50 October 30, 2018

SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Yonhap) – A parliamentary special committee on inter-Korean economic cooperation held its first meeting Tuesday and ruling and opposition party lawmakers pledged efforts for bipartisan cooperation.

The creation of the ad hoc panel was finalized earlier this month amid rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula that was highlighted with three inter-Korean summits this year.

"Parliamentary support and efforts are needed to help inter-Korean economic cooperation pull off meaningful development at a time when such cooperation is set to resume after about 10 years," Rep. Lee In-young of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), the chief of the committee, said.

President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held their third summit last month in Pyongyang, which followed meetings in April and May at the border truce village.

The two Koreas are looking to hold a ground-breaking ceremony for work on the rail and road systems along the eastern and western regions this year.

They also agreed to normalize operations of the now-shuttered joint industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong and the suspended joint tour project on Mount Kumgang in the North, when conditions are met.

But the United States, South Korea's key ally, remains cautious about inter-Korean economic cooperation, saying that any advancement in inter-Korean ties should be tied to progress on North Korea's denuclearization.

Opposition lawmakers pledged efforts for cooperation, but they also expressed concerns about Seoul's push for economic projects with Pyongyang.

"Inter-Korean economic cooperation is an issue that carries both anticipation and concerns," said Rep. Choo Kyung-ho of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party.

The committee plans to hold its second meeting on Nov. 15 to receive briefings from the finance and trade ministries on economic cooperation between the Koreas, it said.


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