News Analysis; Hopes High for Two Koreas' Economies of Larger Scale

Article excerpt

One of issues topping the agenda of the June 12-14 inter-Korean summit will be economic cooperation between the two Koreas. The success of this unprecedented meeting between the leaders of the divided halves will certainly boost the economic exchanges of the two brother countries both in quality and quantity.

High hopes for the boosted economic exchanges between South and North Korea in the aftermath of the summit stem from the fact that the economic area is where the two long-time rivals will be able to reap immediate benefits, contrary to the contentious nature of pending political and ideological issues.

At the same time, on the basis of a solid economic cooperative footing, the two will be able to move on and mend differences on other areas, laying the groundwork for the eventual unification of the two, experts say in unison.

A good example of this chain of events is provided in the case of German unification. Although West Germany has still suffered from the ramifications of absorbing its eastern rival through the latter's sudden collapse, the two Germanies had maintained brisk levels of economic and cultural exchanges that are seen having cushioned other adverse side effects that would otherwise have come in the way.

With this lesson learned from the German unification, the incumbent administration has persistently pursued the path of reconcilation. President Kim Dae-jung broached a proposal of forming an inter-Korean joint economic body in his New Year's speech.

The thrust of President Kim's proposal was to look at the two countries' separate economies from a standpoint of eventual unification and balanced development and form a common sphere of the economy.

As concrete steps, the President suggested cooperation in such areas as merchandise trade, manufacturing, agriculture, construction and finances be strengthened. …