Inter-Korean economic cooperation is shifting into high gear. South and North Korea have agreed to hold subcommittees on railway, road, and forest from June 26 to July 4 in order to implement the Panmunjom Declaration.
The Ministry of Unification said on June 25 that the North and the South agreed on the schedule of subcommittees on rail and road connections and modernization, and cooperation on forestation, to follow up on the high-level talks on June 1.
The railway cooperation subcommittee will be held at the House of Peace in the south of Panmunjom on June 26, and the road cooperation subcommittee will be held on June 28 at Tongilgak, in the north of Panmunjom.
South Korea will organize the subcommittees of railway and road cooperation made up of three delegates respectively, each of which will be headed by Kim Jong-ryeol, deputy minister of land, infrastructure and transport.
The North announced that it is dispatching to the railway cooperation subcommittee three members including Kim Yoon-hyuk, deputy chief of the Department of Railway, and three members to the road cooperation subcommittee including Park Young-ho, vice-president of the Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection.
The forest cooperation subcommittee will be held on July 4, and the venue is still under discussion.
Participants from the South are three delegates led by Ryu Kwang-su, deputy administator of the Korea Forest Service, and those from the North are three delegates led by Kim Sung-joon, deputy director general of the Ministry of Land and Environmental Protection.
The two Koreas have set the schedules to follow up on the “April 27 Panmunjom Declaration” at the high-level talks on June 1.
Based on this, the two sides held general-level military talks (June 14), sports talks (June 18) and Red Cross talks (June 22), and will expand cooperation to the economic sector.
In particular, when the Gyeongui, Donghae and Kyungwon rail lines are all connected, the logistics and traffic infrastructure for the “H-line economic belt,” which President Moon Jae-in suggested in the “New Economic Map of the Korean Peninsula,” will be completed. So the South Korean government is likely to be more aggressive in pursuing the cooperation.
However, it may be difficult to promote full-fledged economic cooperation between the two Koreas as U.N. sanctions are still imposed on North Korea. Therefore, it is expected that this meeting will be less about discussing specific cooperation projects than about sharing ideas on how to undertake joint fact-finding research.
The Ministry of Unification said, "Through these railway, road, and forest cooperation subcommittees, we will discuss ways to implement the Panmunjom Declaration faithfully and establish the foundation for a sustainable development of inter-Korean relations and the permanent settlement of peace on the Korean peninsula."