Sat, Nov 17, 2007 - Page 5 News List

No quick change seen from Korean talks


North and South Korea yesterday agreed on more massive projects to help rebuild the North's broken economy, including freight train services over their heavily armed border that had been severed since the Korean War.

The agreements, which came during the first talks in 15 years between prime ministers of two countries, also envision the South building shipyards along North Korea's west coast.

But the three days of talks resulted in little immediate or tangible change. However, the railway opening symbolizes the growing reconciliation between the two sides and marks one of the first tangible results of a summit last month between the nations' leaders.

"The agreements set the stage for our companies to expand investment in the North and substantially contribute to its economic development," South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo's office said in a statement.

South Korea will help repair the 170km stretch of highway between Pyongyang and the North's border city of Kaesong, about 70km northwest of Seoul, as well as rail tracks between Kaesong and the North's border with China.

Seoul will also help create a special shipping district in the North's port city of Haeju on the west coast and begin the construction of a shipbuilding plant in Anbyon.

The two will also try to create a joint fishing and shipping zone next year off their west coast.

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