Advisory panel stresses Moon’s focus on inter-Korean economic cooperation

SEOUL-- South Korean President Moon Jae-in is keen on boosting economic cooperation with North Korea, a senior official at the presidential policy advisory committee said Friday, heralding a sharp increase in joint inter-Korean economic projects.

"President Moon is highly interested in" inter-Korean economic cooperation, Lee Su-hoon, professor at Kyungnam University who heads the security affairs section at the State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee, said ahead of the Ministry of Unification's policy report to the committee.

"The Korean Peninsula new economy map is a very important key" in solving the job shortage issue as well as rejuvenating the economy," Lee said, referring to Moon's policy vision released while he headed the then opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy party in 2015.

The policy vision centers on forming a joint economic community between the two Koreas as a means to revive economic growth and bring peace to the peninsula.

Lee said now is the time to openly search for ways to unify the two Koreas in collaboration with the public, hinting at the Moon administration's focus on expanding engagement with the North. "The (option of) forging an agreement between the South and the North, which is tantamount to a treaty, should also be considered."

Lee also mounted criticism on the Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs for remaining inactive during the two conservative administrations which preferred sanctions on North Korea.

"The Ministry of Unification became worse off during the past nine to 10 years. The inter-Korean relationship is also the worst ever," he told the ministry officials. "The biggest task is how we could create momentum to improve the South-North relationship in order to meet the public's aspirations."

Briefing on the results of the ministry's report later in the day, spokesman Park Kwang-on said the committee, the de facto transition team for the administration, has shared the understanding with the ministry that "the Unification Ministry needs to play a more active role in order to take the lead in building peace on the Korean Peninsula and new inter-Korean relations."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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