DPRK: Electricity aid to be turning point for inter-Korean economic community

Unification Minister Chung Dong-young said the government's will to transmit electricity to North Korea remains firm and that the provision of energy will ultimately serve as a dramatic turning point for South and North Korea to set up a joint economic community on the Korean Peninsula.

In an interview with the newspaper Hankyoreh dated Tuesday (July 20), Minister Chung also dismissed as 'marginal and inaccurate' questions on the proposed power supply raised by some media organizations and experts.

The minister also said the government's estimates for the cost of the supply were in the range of 650 billion to 800 billion won.

In a meeting with reporters on Monday, the minister likened power transmission, blocked for half a century to the North, to a blood circulation inside a human body. That is, "electricity flows" like blood circulates through the split Korean Peninsula.

In sum, "electricity flows" represents a very symbolic meaning in terms of an economic integration of the two Koreas. He further stated that the cost to be incurred by power transmissions was something Koreans can bear with as the power supply can be understood as part of the effort to lay infrastructure in the North (for preparation of a reunification).

Touching on the six-party talks to be resumed next week, Chung said the talks are for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and dismantlement of the North's nuclear program, and that the human rights situation in North Korea and past abductions by North Korea of Japanese nationals as well as turning the meeting into a disarmament forum will not be on the agenda. He stressed that the sincerity displayed by South Korea in its bid to make a breakthrough to the solution of the North Korean nuclear issue through the "important proposal" should be shared by the other participants in the six-party negotiations.

He also sounded hopeful that next week's talks could provide a starting point for North Korea and the United States to form friendly relations and serve as a historical opportunity to dismantle the Cold War system on the Korean Peninsula.


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