KCCI preps for inter-Korean contact amid detente

By Yonhap
  • Published : Mar 13, 2018 - 09:32
  • Updated : Mar 13, 2018 - 09:32

The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry is preparing for possible contact with its North Korean counterpart amid a mood of detente on the Korean Peninsula, sources said Tuesday.

In a dramatic turnaround from icy relations, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is scheduled to hold a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in late April to discuss ways of promoting peace on the peninsula.

US President Donald Trump agreed last week to a summit with Kim by the end of May after the reclusive leader expressed his commitment to denuclearization. 

KCCI Chairman Park Yong-maan (Yonhap)

According to the sources, the KCCI is considering plans to push for indirect contact with the North Korean Chamber of Commerce through the International Chamber of Commerce or direct dialogue with the North Korean business body should the summits be held as agreed upon.

The KCCI is slated to host a conference on the outlook of inter-Korean relations and future tasks in Seoul next week with local businessmen attending.

It will mark the first time since June 2015 that the KCCI has held an event related to inter-Korean ties.

The business organization also plans to step up the activity of a policy advisory group on economic cooperation between the two Koreas, while mulling the revival of the now defunct inter-Korean economic cooperation committee.

KCCI Chairman Park Yong-maan has said the body will push for exchanges with its North Korean counterpart, presenting specific areas of cooperation, such as the certification of origin of North Korean products.

The KCCI, however, said it will not rush to contact the North Korean businessmen as the prospect of inter-Korean ties remains murky and international sanctions on Pyongyang are in place.

In a meeting with reporters in July last year, Park said, "The KCCI can activate the communication channel with (the North Korean body) at any moment, but it's not an issue that I can touch because a considerable number of its members are subject to the sanctions."

The United Nations, the United States and other countries have imposed a series of sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear and missile tests.

The KCCI has not had any contact with the North Korean business body over the past 10 years, though they held direct and indirect contact during the South's liberal governments of Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun.

Meanwhile, major companies in South Korea are taking a wait-and-see approach toward improving conditions on the Korean Peninsula without making any concrete moves for inter-Korean exchanges, according to the sources. (Yonhap)