Seoul City Mayor Park Won-soon said that law has to be revised to allow local governments to be engaged in business with North Korea so that the South can be more active in inter-Korean relations.
“Despite President Park Geun-hye’s Dresden Declaration for trust building, we are still in need of a more active approach beyond the level of the declaration,” he added at the round-table talks of the Council of Foreign Relations on Sept. 24 (local time). “At present, local governments cannot do any exchange with Pyongyang without the central government's permission,” he continued, saying, “The Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund has not been executed at all due to this reason, either.”
He also mentioned that diplomacy and security are no longer the central government’s exclusive jurisdiction, and local governments and the private sector have to be the new principal agents. “Germany continued with Chancellor Willy Brandt’s ostpolitik even after the regime change, and the policy eventually resulted in unification,” he emphasized on the importance of a consistent policy by saying so.
“A wide range of exchanges and cooperation between local governments will contribute greatly to peace in the Korean Peninsula, as seen in the examples of the sisterhood ties between 62 West German and East German cities,” he explained, continuing, “Seoul City is planning to launch various projects with Pyongyang, even before the revision of the law, once the central government allows it to do so.”