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S. Korea to seek new 'northern' policy after reviewing sanctions

2017/09/08 11:50

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SEOUL, Sept. 8 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's unification ministry said Friday it plans to seek trilateral economic cooperation involving the two Koreas and Russia after taking into account international sanctions and public sentiment.

President Moon Jae-in has unveiled the so-called new Northern Policy designed to expand economic cooperation with northern states including North Korea.

The Ministry of Unification said that the initiative involving the two Koreas and Russia will help implement Moon's another vision to build a new economic belt with North Korea.

This file photo taken on Aug. 23, 2017, shows President Moon Jae-in presiding over a foreign and unification policy discussion meeting in Seoul. (Yonhap) This file photo taken on Aug. 23, 2017, shows President Moon Jae-in presiding over a foreign and unification policy discussion meeting in Seoul. (Yonhap)

"The government plans to consider the pursuit of the policy after taking into account international sanctions, public sentiment and inter-Korean ties," Lee Eugene, vice spokesperson at Seoul's unification ministry, said at a press briefing.

During his latest visit to Russia, Moon said Thursday that strengthening cooperation between the South and Russia in the Far East will help pave the way for eliciting North Korea's change.

Meanwhile, the ministry dismissed a newspaper report that Seoul will seek to sharply raise the size of an inter-Korean cooperation fund to finance a possible project to set up a factory zone in North Korea-Russia border areas.

The JoongAng Ilbo reported that the government plans to boost the fund by about US$2 billion to fund a potential trilateral project among Seoul, Pyongyang and Moscow to establish the complex in areas spanning the North Korean port city of Rajin and Russia's Khasan.

Lee said that the report is not true, saying that the state inter-Korean cooperation fund for next year amounts to just 1.046 trillion won.

The idea of building a factory park in the Rajin-Khasan area was first floated under the liberal government of former President Roh Moo-hyun in 2003-2008. But it was known to be put on hold mainly due to North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006.

Moon's predecessor, Park Geun-hye, an ousted president, pushed for a trilateral logistics project involving the Koreas and Russia, but it was suspended after Seoul imposed unilateral sanctions last year following the North's fourth nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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