Yonhap (Jan 7, 2008) reports that newly elected South Korean president Lee Myung-bak will revisit the agreement struck between former President Roh and Chairman Kim Jong il last fall.
(excerpt) Projects under review will be the construction of a shipyard complex and its infrastructure in [Haeju] North Korea, along with the establishment of a “peace zone” along the disputed [Northern Line Limit] border in the West Sea, the site of deadly naval clashes between the two Koreas in 1999 and 2002.
“Humanitarian projects, such as the reunion of family members living separately in the two Koreas, and rice and fertilizer aid can be continuously pushed for, but economic cooperation projects should be carried out in parallel with the pace of North Korea nuclear talks,” a key member of the team was quoted as saying at the briefing.
Projects in the North are not the only things potentially headed for the chopping block–so it seems is the South Korean Ministry of Unification itself, which could potentially be merged with the South Korean Foreign Ministry.
The incoming president, however, did suggest a carrot to go with his sticks. Yonhap reported on January 4 that the new administration plans to launch a USD$40 million fund to promote economic growth in North Korea.
(excerpt from Yonhap) The planned fund is in line with Lee’s ambitious plan to help increase the impoverished North’s per capita income to $3,000 within a decade if it makes the bold decision to abandon its nuclear program and open its market, said the team’s spokesman Lee Dong-gwan. There are no accurate data on the reclusive nation’s economy but some estimates put its per capita income at around $1,300.