South Korea’s finance minister said on Wednesday (May 2) the government was discussing how to finance possible economic projects with North Korea, although any projects with Pyongyang must first be approved by the international community. “We’re internally carrying out preparations, in terms of what to prepare, and how to co-operate with the international community, and how to finance (possible inter-Korea projects),” Kim Dong Yeon told reporters in Sejong. But we need support from the international community and need to watch the (upcoming) summit between the United States and North Korea,” Kim said, without elaborating on specifics of any government financing.
Kim’s comments come after South Korean President Moon Jae In and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un agreed last Friday on a common goal of a “nuclear-free” peninsula, and to “adopt practical steps towards the connection and modernization of the railways and roads”. Many speculate that the two Koreas will start joint infrastructure projects as soon as international sanctions on North Korea are lifted. South Korea’s newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported that President Moon gave the North Korean leader a USB drive during last week’s summit. According to a senior Blue House official who briefed local reporters on Monday, the USB contained an e-book and a short presentation illustrating Moon’s so-called “New Economic Map” initiative, which was initially made public last July in a speech in Berlin.South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North, says the initiative aims at a “single market” for the two Koreas in order to “lay the foundation for unification” job creation and higher economic growth for both countries, reported JoongAng Ilbo.