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Inter-Korea Economic Projects Stalled

Inter-Korea Economic Projects StalledInter-Korea Economic Projects Stalled

The Incheon Port Authority said Monday, it plans to introduce an inter-Korean cruise program in a move to promote the nation’s cruise ship tourism.

According to the IPA, it formed a taskforce recently to deal with economic cooperation between South and North Korea, and the cruise program is one of the team’s three key projects. The two others are to modernize Nampo Port in the North and import North Korean sand collected near Haeju, Yonhap reported.

The plan comes as the nation’s largest cruise terminal is due to open next April in Songdo, Incheon, 50 kilometers west of Seoul. The 430-meter-long pier for cruise ships will be able to accommodate 5,000 to 6,000 travelers and is believed it will bring huge changes to the domestic marine tourism market. For the project, the IPA will encourage foreign cruise ships calling at the new South Korean terminal to make additional stops at North Korean ports such as Nampo in South Pyongan Province and Haeju in South Hwanghae Province.

There was a regularly scheduled cargo ship between Incheon and Nampo from 2002 to 2011.

Given that Nampo is located roughly 50 kilometers from the North Korean capital Pyongyang, the envisaged port calls of cruise ships could become an attractive tour program that enables tourists to visit the capital areas of the two Koreas, the IPA said.

“In the past, the Incheon-Nampo route accounted for 60% of inter-Korean trade. Incheon and Nampo have a similarity as the gateways to each other’s capital,” an IPA official said. “We’ll make sufficient preparations for the resumption of full-scale inter-Korean economic exchanges.”

Currently, any inter-Korean economic exchanges are on hold despite the improvement in relations between the two countries, due to multilayered international sanctions imposed on Pyongyang for its past missile and nuclear tests.

For a successful cruise program, the IPA plans to analyze the inter-Korean logistics environment and licensing procedures by the end of this year, followed by a joint study of the North’s port infrastructure and sea routes by the first half of next year.

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