Home GRASP GRASP/Korea South Korea’s Leader Proposes Broad Economic Cooperation With the North

South Korea’s Leader Proposes Broad Economic Cooperation With the North


President Moon Jae-in said the Koreas should link their railways and set up joint economic zones, provided the North takes real steps toward giving up nuclear weapons.
SEOUL, South Korea — President Moon Jae-in of South Korea on Wednesday offered a bold vision for economic cooperation with North Korea, including joint economic zones along the countries’ border and a linked rail network — provided that the North takes real steps toward giving up its nuclear weapons.
“We must overcome division for our survival and prosperity,” Mr. Moon said in a speech marking National Liberation Day, which marks the end of Japan’s colonial rule over a then-unified Korea with the Allied victory in World War II.
“Even though political unification is still far away, building a single economic community first by settling peace and freely traveling back and forth between the two Koreas will become genuine liberation for us,” Mr. Moon said.
Next month, Mr. Moon is expected to visit North Korea for his third summit meeting with Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader. In his speech Wednesday, he suggested that South Korea should be a leader, not a spectator, in resolving the dispute between North Korea and the Trump administration over the North’s nuclear weapons.
“It is important to recognize that we are the protagonists in Korean Peninsula-related issues,” Mr. Moon said. “Developments in inter-Korean relations are not the by-effects of progress in the relationship between the North and the United States. Rather, advancement in inter-Korean relations is the driving force behind denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
That could mark a subtle but contentious shift in South Korea’s role in the diplomacy surrounding the North’s nuclear weapons. The South and the United States have both said that their relations with the North will develop at roughly the same pace. And Washington says the North must denuclearize before those ties improve.
When Mr. Kim met with President Trump in Singapore in June, the leaders adopted a broad, vague agreement on improving bilateral relations, building what they called a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula and denuclearizing the peninsula.
But two months later, talks between Washington and Pyongyang are deadlocked over differences about how denuclearization should proceed. Meanwhile, the Koreas have been laying the groundwork for improving their relationship on multiple fronts.

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