The Ministry of Unification released its
plans for the 2014 Inter-Korean Development Program on August 18th. 96 new
enterprises are among the proposals stipulated in the report’s 30 articles.
The chief components of the plan include: ▲the
establishment of a channel for consistent Inter-Korean dialogue ▲a solution for
the Separated Families issue ▲provision of humanitarian aid geared towards
North Korean citizens ▲adherence to international regulations through a
cooperative exchange system ▲the restoration of national solidarity through sociocultural
exchanges ▲expanding other ongoing inter-Korean economic collaboration projects
▲normalization of Kaesong Industrial Park operations and ▲tailoring refugee
resettlement funds to individual defector needs.
In a statement about the plan, a Ministry
of Unification official said, “There is much significance in the fact that this
proposal was a governmentwide effort; a total of 24 administrative bodies came
together to formulate these ideas and strategies.”
The comprehensive program also included
detailed plans for the repair and renovation of the Kaesong-Pyongyang
Expressway and the Kaesong-Sinuiju Railway. The premise of the official
Inter-Korean Development Program has always been to improve overall conditions
in the North while fostering better relations between North and South, but this
most recent plan is the first to delineate detailed plans for large-scale
investments in infrastructure.
Expansion of other inter-Korean economic
collaborations were also outlined, such as: ▲Kaesong-Sinuiju railroad and
Kaesong-Pyongyang railroad repairs ▲Imjin River flood prevention business ▲Food
and Agriculture Organization [FAO] support of the North Korean fishing industry
▲proposals such as vitalization of inter-Korean shipping are included. In
addition, depending on the situation, they plan to gradually introduce ▲reopening
trade and commerce ▲resumption of basic economic cooperation and ▲launching of
Regular meetings of officials from both
Koreas to foster better communication, as well as working level talks
classified by sector, were among other proposed plans depicted in the report. Minister
of Unification, Ryu Kil Jae stated, “We must propel cultural exchanges as a way
to cultivate cultural homogeneity.” He went on to say that while there are no
current plans to lift sanctions imposed by the May 24th Measures, these would
not be an obstacle in implementing the new strategies.
A continued dedication to improving human
rights in North Korea was also announced, starting with continued pressure on
lawmakers to overcome the impasse and pass the North Korean Human Rights Act.
The proposed law first appeared in 2005 but has since stagnated in the National
Assembly due to failure by ruling and opposition parties to reach a consensus.
Additional plans to increase support to private organizations advocating human
rights in North Korea as well as striving to implement the recent
recommendations by the UN based on the Commission of Inquiry [COI] findings on
human rights in North Korea.
The South Korean government expressed its
intentions to improve the quality of life for North Korean residents by
increasing humanitarian aid and support. Most notably, the South vowed to
separate political and humanitarian issues, ensuring that vulnerable social
groups receive the support they need, regardless of tensions on the Korean