Inter-Korean Summit to Broaden Cooperation, Promote Peace


10-06-07, 9:31 am

,image 2 right large>The agreement reached between the top leaders of South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at their summit in Pyongyang will increase cooperation between the two sides and add momentum to efforts to achieve peace and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula, analysts said Thursday.

Since the first inter-Korean summit seven years ago, economic and tourism projects have been launched, including an inter-Korean industrial complex in the DPRK's border city of Kaesong and tours of the scenic Mt. Kumgang.

But the two Koreas, technically still in a state of conflict, need a permanent peace treaty to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce.

South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun, who traveled overland to Pyongyang for the three-day visit, and DPRK top leader Kim Jong Il reaffirmed their commitment to promoting peace on the peninsula and economic cooperation between the two sides.

The eight-point declaration they issued on Thursday calls for an end to the military hostility between the two sides and a three- or four-party summit on a permanent peace treaty on the Korean Peninsula.

They have agreed to hold talks between their prime ministers and defense ministers in the near future, the declaration said.

They also agreed to expand cross-border investments and economic cooperation projects and create a special peace zone in the West Sea (Yellow Sea).

The two sides will work together to open a direct air route between Seoul and the DPRK's Mt. Paektu and operate railways linking South Korea and the DPRK to China during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the document said.

Other plans include construction of a joint shipbuilding complex in the port city of Nampo, near Pyongyang, and a cross-border cargo railway.

'I think the substance of the results is more than I originally expected,' Paik Hak-soon, an analyst at Sejong Institute in Seoul told South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

The planned joint railway project represent another breakthrough that follows the test run conducted on the cross-border railway in May. Combined with the planned road projects the railway project will pave the way for an inter-Korean or even northeast Asian transport network, other analysts said.

The declaration came a day after the six-party talks in Beijing issued a joint document, in which the DPRK agreed to disable all its existing nuclear facilities subject to abandonment under the September 2005 joint statement and the agreement in Feb. 13 this year.

The DPRK also agreed to provide a complete and correct declaration of all its nuclear programs by the end of this year.

As part of the initial actions agreed at the six-party talks earlier this year, the DPRK has shut down its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon.

In their joint declaration, South Korea and the DPRK agreed to work together to ensure 'the smooth implementation' of the existing agreements of the six-party talks.

The agreement showed the common desire of both sides to expand cooperation from bilateral issues to international issues and will help resolve the nuclear issue, analysts said.

From People's Daily