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Cooperation based on 2007 plan

Apr 30,2018
After the historic summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, hopes are rising for a reigniting of the economic cooperation between the two Koreas that was promised during the second inter-Korean summit in October 2007.

In fact, the Panmunjom Declaration that was signed after the third inter-Korean summit on Friday stated that both North and South Korea will actively push the agreements in the Oct. 4, 2007, declaration, which were supposed to promote balanced development of both country’s economies. It added that the two Koreas will implement practical measures to modernize and connect the Gyeongui railway and roads on the eastern transportation corridor as well as between Seoul and Sinuiju.

The Panmunjom Declaration is in many ways a rerun of the economic dreams of 2007.

When the Oct. 4 declaration was announced by then-South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang in 2007, it addressed the same issues.

The 2007 declaration states: The South and the North have agreed to facilitate, expand and further develop inter-Korean economic cooperation projects on a continual basis for balanced economic development and co-prosperity on the Korean Peninsula in accordance with the principles of common interests, co-prosperity and mutual aid.

In declared the two sides agreed on five major issues.

The first was creating a “special peace and cooperation zones in the West Sea” encompassing Haeju that would lead to a joint fishing zone and maritime peace zone.

The second was the entering of phase two of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The third was the repair of a railroad between Kaesong and Sinuiju and the joint use of the Kaesong and Pyongyang expressway.

The fourth was the construction of a cooperative complex for shipbuilding in Anbyeon and Nampo. The last was the upgrading of the status of the then Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation Promotion Committee to a Joint Committee for Inter-Korean Economic Cooperation, headed by deputy prime minister-level officials.

The Oct. 4 declaration, however, never came to fruition. The administration changed and relations between the North and South completely froze over after President Park Geun-hye ordered the Kaesong Industrial Park closed two years ago.

The Oct. 4 declaration is expected to be a guide to future economic cooperation between the two Koreas.

A study by the Korea Institute for National Unification and other private institutions more than a decade ago estimated that if the economic cooperation reached a level that the agreement in 2007 promised, it could generate economic benefits amounting to 55.3 trillion won ($51.8 billion).


BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]