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Seoul Praises North Korea's Reform Push

Seoul Praises North Korea's Reform Push

Unification Minister Jeong Se-hyun on Wednesday (Sept. 17) made encouraging remarks about Pyongyang for its push to reform the staggering economy.

“We think very highly of the North’s willingness for reform to break through its economic hardship,” Jeong said in an address during an academic conference held at the Korea Press Center in Seoul.

“The North has come to realize that it cannot survive without overcoming its structural problems. Realizing the harsh reality of their situation, they have pushed forward with a series of economic reform measures since July last year,” Jeong said. “We rate their move high ,”

However, Jeong cautioned that the economic steps could face a certain limitation unless the North lures more foreign direct investments and procures relevant materials to implement their programs. “The future of its economy will depend on how they will proceed with inter-Korean economic cooperation and international aid,” Jeong said.

During the speech, he spoke positively about ongoing cross-border economic projects. “The inter-Korean projects have assured the North of the necessity of maintaining momentum as well as establishing military cooperation,” Jeong said. “That is a remarkable outcome,” he added.

The minister said it would take considerable time to settle the North’s nuclear issue once and for all, but “I believe the six-way multilateral talks set a certain pace for peace,”

As the North is well informed of world matters through various channels, it knows the international community will provide economic aid if the North scraps its nuclear weapon ambitions, Jeong noted.

“We will keep persuading Pyongyang to settle the nuclear issue during forthcoming inter-Korean talks including ministerial meetings and economic cooperation consultations both slated for next month,” he said.

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