South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reached an understanding Friday to push for economic projects that their two late predecessors had previously agreed upon more than a decade ago.
In 2007, South and North Korea agreed to establish cooperative complexes for shipbuilding in North Korea, while pushing for projects in such areas as agriculture, health and medical services and environmental protection.
The last accord was reached between South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, the late father of Kim Jong-un. At that time, Moon served as Roh's chief of staff.
In the latest agreement, South and North Korea agreed to actively implement projects that had been placed on hold for over a decade. As a first step, the two sides agreed to move towards connecting and modernizing the railways and roads along their east and west coasts.
They did not elaborate on the 2007 deal that called for, among other things, the building of a ship repair center in Nampo in the North and a ship block manufacturing facility in Anbyeon, south of the North Korean port of Wonsan.
At that time, South and North Korea carried out two rounds of on-site inspections for the project. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., a major South Korean shipbuilder, also conducted a separate feasibility study on Nampo and Anbyeon.
Despite initial high hopes, economic programs outlined in the 2007 summit got nowhere, as Roh's conservative successor, Lee Myung-bak, took power in Seoul with a hard-line policy towards Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development ambitions.
Despite the historic summit, some observers here pointed out that it remains unclear whether the two Koreas can build a ship repair center and move forwards on other economic cooperation project at a time when North Korea is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and missile tests (Yonhap)