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Presidential panel chief's N.K. trip unrelated to inter-Korean economic cooperation: official

2018/07/12 11:46

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SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- A planned trip by the head of a presidential panel this week has nothing to do with the Seoul government's preparations to resume inter-Korean economic cooperation, a unification ministry official said Thursday.

The ministry recently approved a request by the Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation's plan to visit North Korea for two days from Friday.

An 11-member delegation led by committee chief Song Young-gil will attend a forum to be organized by Russia in the northeastern border region of Rason and discuss three-way cooperation involving the two Koreas and Russia.

"We understand that they will visit the North to attend the seminar and that the trip has nothing to do with (inter-Korean) economic cooperation or relevant projects," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Speculation has mounted that the trip might signal the government's push to explore cross-border economic cooperation in earnest, which has been suspended for years amid strained ties caused by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile provocations.

A local newspaper earlier reported that the upcoming North Korea trip might be intended to discuss ways to resume economic cooperation, including the so-called Rajin-Khasan project in the region, for which Russia has asked for Seoul's participation.

kokobj@yna.co.kr

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