SEOUL, Jun. 14 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean banks have stepped up preparations for a possible resumption of economic projects in North Korea, as a historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un raised hopes of more reconciliation between Seoul and Pyongyang.
After about five hours of talks in Singapore on Tuesday, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement committing to the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” But the statement fell short on details of how the North’s denuclearization would be achieved.
Hopes of inter-Korean cooperation have been raised since President Moon Jae-in and Kim held summit talks in April, with Kim pledging his commitment to denuclearization.
South Korean banks, including Shinhan Financial Group and KB Financial Group — have set up task forces to conduct research on inter-Korean economic projects.
Earlier this month, Shinhan Financial launched a task force on North Korea.
The task force was manned by executives from the financial holding firm’s affiliates, including Shinhan Bank.
KB Financial has also set up a task force to review how it could take part in North Korea’s fiancial business operations if inter-Korean cooperation gains further momentum.
KEB Hana Bank will launch a team to draw up plans for financial support in North Korea when inter-Korean economic projects resume.
An official at KEB Hana Bank said the bank is interested in opening a branch in North Korea, but it will be possible “when political conditions are ripe.”
Two major inter-Korean economic cooperation projects — tours to North Korea’s Mount Kumgang and the joint industrial complex in the North’s border city of Kaesong — were suspended after Pyongyang’s provocative actions over the years.