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S. Korea to review resumption of inter-Korean projects at NSC meeting

All Headlines 15:18 January 03, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) -- South Korea was set to hold a National Security Council meeting Thursday to discuss North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's offer to resume two inter-Korean economic cooperation projects, a unification ministry official said.

In his New Year speech Tuesday, Kim said he is willing to reopen the shuttered industrial park in the North's border town of Kaesong and resume the suspended tourism program to Mount Kumgang on its east coast without any preconditions.

"Through an NSC meeting set for this afternoon, the government plans to assess the overall situation and formulate its position down the road," the ministry official told reporters.

Regarding South Korean businessmen's push to visit the Kaesong complex where they operated factories, the official said the government will review the request after taking various issues, such as inter-Korean relations and international sanctions, into consideration.

The factory owners have unsuccessfully sought to visit the complex multiple times to inspect their facilities.

Any trip by South Koreans to North Korea requires government approval as well as the North's consent, as the two Koreas technically remain in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The industrial park and the tour program were two symbolic cross-border projects before they came to a halt in 2016 and 2008, respectively, amid worsening relations between the two Koreas.

Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed in their September summit to normalize them as soon as conditions are met.

Following Kim's speech, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said the Seoul government will decide whether to hold further high-level talks with North Korea after a comprehensive review of related matters.

In this file photo, taken Oct. 25, 2018, the Kaesong Industrial Complex, an inter-Korean factory park in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, can been seen from a South Korean observatory during a visit to the observatory by members of the parliamentary land and transportation committee. (pool photo) (Yonhap)

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