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Inter-Korean economic cooperation: current state, restraints, and possible outlook Updated: 2018-09-18 04:24:01 KST

Peace, denuclearization and economic cooperation.
Inter-Korean economic exchanges, reconnecting inter-Korean railways and roads in particular, were some of the key agreements signed in the Panmunjom Declaration at the first summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un last April.

"Reconnecting rail and roads will enable free movement of people and resources, laying down the first step for other possible economic engagement. North Korea would be able to get help in modernizing its outdated social infrastructure and facilities. For the South, it would bring a new momentum for growth."

If re-connected, South Korean exports would be able to reach China, Russia and even Europe through the Trans-China Railway and the Trans-Siberian Railway, cutting transport time to Europe by a third compared to sea routes.
Already, in July, South Korean officials jointly inspected the railway sections on the North Korean side.
Other possible projects include tourism at Mount. Kumgang, reforestation, and the reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which was shut down following heightened tensions between the two Koreas.
Data by the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy show such engagement could result in an economic boost worth 150 billion U.S. dollars over the next three decades.
But all these projects can happen only after UN sanctions on the North are lifted.

(Korean - )
"North Korea would have to show it is taking meaningful, actual steps to denuclearize before the lifting of UN sanctions, which would then allow legal investment in the North. South Korea also needs to work closely with the U.S., so that economic engagement doesn't come before denuclearization."

Cautiously, preparations are underway.
The inter-Korean cooperation fund has been increased by 14 percent on-year for 2019, South Korean companies like Hyundai Asan, have created special task forces to review investment projects in the North.
All eyes are now on the third Moon-Kim summit this week, and what agreements the two leaders can reach.
Ro a-ram, Arirang News.
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