SEOUL, May 3 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s provincial governments Sunday unveiled plans to resume long-suspended aid to and exchange projects with North Korea under a new inter-Korean reconciliation policy by the Park Geun-hye government.
Last week, the Ministry of Unification announced plans to promote inter-Korean exchanges in such areas as culture, sports and history to help “restore national unity and open channels for cooperation.”
The announcement came as this year marks the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.
Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul, has been in talks with the ministry and other relevant organizations to resume three projects with North Korea, officials said.
One project aims to preserve traditional Korean houses, known as “hanok,” in North Korea’s border city of Kaesong, while the others deal with drawing up joint preventive measures against malaria and building a joint tree nursery.
North Jeolla Province, which has carried out large-scale projects to support North Korea’s agricultural and livestock industries, will also consider ways to resume cross-border projects, officials there said.
Following the ministry’s announcement, the South Jeolla government has begun to study ways to send seaweed and rice to mothers and underprivileged children in North Hamkyong.
“As the government has allowed the expansion of aid projects for the North, we will confidently make active efforts,” a South Jeolla government official said.
Officials in the southern port city of Busan welcomed the Park administration’s new policy, citing their interest in participating in a logistics project involving the two Koreas and Russia.
If the project succeeds, South Korea will be able to ship goods from Busan to the North Korean city of Rajin, where a railway linking the city to the Russian city of Khasan could help transport the goods to Europe.