08/17/2007, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA - NORTH KOREA
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Inter Korean summit, the Church urges “sincere” dialogue on economic issues

The President of Caritas Korea expresses his “joy” at the imminent summit in Pyongyang: in order to reach peace the famine in the North needs to be resolved. Head of State Roh: at the centre of talks, the formation of a unified economic zone.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – The formation of a unified economic zone will be the eventual goal of the Korean summit slated for Aug. 28-30 in Pyongyang. The announcement was made by South Korean leader, Roh Moo-hyun, ahead of his meeting at the end of the month with North Korea’s Kim Jong-il. The news of the historic summit, the second in 7 years, was received with “joy” by the Church in Korea, which urges “sincere dialogue” staring with economic issues.

 

“Preparations for a unified economic zone, as well as the formation of a common economic bloc, on the Korean Peninsula will be the most important factors for inter-Korean peace," Roh was quoted as saying at a Cabinet meeting. According to spokesman Cheon Ho-seon, “mutual interdependence in economy is the most critical factor to guaranteeing peace on the Korean Peninsula”. Former Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan, a key political ally of Roh explians that “North Korea has expressed a wish to build new industrial complexes across the country, including in Nampo, Wonsan, Sinuiju and Rajin. The North also wants to start new sightseeing businesses for South Korean tourists at its other scenic mountains, like Mount Paektu, Myohyang and Kuwol”.

 

Msgr. Lazzaro You Heung-sik, bishop of Daejon and president of Caritas Korea, is well briefed on the situation in the North, where he is involved in humanitarian projects aiding the marginalized.  Speaking AsiaNews he described the “joy” of the Korean church at the news of the summit: “We are really very happy, this meeting has been a long time coming and we are expecting a lot from the outcome”. “We hope that this is just a beginning – he declares – and that a sincere and fruitful dialogue between the two states can be established, above all on economic issues: Seoul must study how it can gradually help Pyongyang to develop and the first problem to be resolved must be the ongoing famine”. (TKHy)

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