S. Korea’s local gov’ts speed up cooperation with N. Korea

BUSAN/SUWON, Local governments in South Korea are accelerating various exchange and cooperation projects with North Korea amid the improving inter-Korean relationship.

Busan's Vice Mayor for Economic Affairs Yoo Jae-soo, Gyeonggi Province's Vice Governor for Peace Lee Hwa-young and Sejong City's Vice Mayor for Political Affairs Lee Kang-jin have returned from their joint visit to North Korea from Oct. 20-23.

In Pyongyang, the South Korean officials reportedly met with Kim Yong-chol, chairman of the Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, Kim Song-hye, chief of policy at the committee, and other North Korean officials.

Busan's metropolitan government said Thursday that Vice Mayor Yoo asked for Pyongyang's support for inter-Korean cooperation in the fields of port logistics, finance, information technology and the film industry, drawing a positive response from the North's officials.

In particular, Yoo explained Busan's financial hub policy and offered to provide technical assistance to the North's establishment of a financial system.

Yoo also invited Kim to visit the South Korean port city.

Meanwhile, Gyeonggi Province's Vice Mayor Lee said that a ranking North Korean official plans to visit the province next month to attend an international academic meeting in Goyang, north of Seoul.

The North's official will discuss the schedule of Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung's North Korea visit, as well as the opening of a Gyeonggi Province branch of renowned North Korean restaurant Okryugwan, Lee said.

He said a seven-member North Korean delegation led by a top government official will attend an international forum on Asia-Pacific peace and prosperity that will be held at a hotel in Goyang on Nov. 14 and 15.

"Gov. Lee plans to visit North Korea to draw conclusions in the province's various cooperation projects with the North. The exact timing of the visit will be determined after consultations with the central government," said the vice governor.

He said his province's North Korean cooperation projects will proceed in the fields of farming, forestry, sports, culture, health and anti-epidemic measures.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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