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Inter-Korean exchanges peaked in 2002

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Jan 02,2003
Interaction between North and South Korea, ever since the first cautious opening in 1989, reached its highest level ever at both the state and civic levels, the Unification Ministry said Thursday. A total of 39,433 South Koreans have visited the North, excluding the number of tourists to North Korea's Mount Geumgang resort; nearly one third of them visited last year. Most of the visits were for business reasons, with light water reactor construction taking up nearly 31 percent, inter-Korean tourism project making up 24 percent of the trips and humanitarian assistance 11 percent, economic activity 9 percent and family reunions about 5 percent. The total number of tourists to Geumgang mountain ever since its launch in November 1998 reached 504,085, including 1,791 foreign tourists. The number of North Koreans who visited the South since 1989 total 2,568 with 40 percent of the visits made last year alone. This is thanks to numerous inter-Korean events arranged by two Koreas, explained the Ministry like inter-Korean soccer game, Busan Asian Games, a North Korean economic delegation and others. Inter-Korean trade, which used to linger around $170 million from 1989-1997, made a sharp upturn around 1998. With extra help from the light water reactor construction and extension of inter-Korean process trade, the trade volume began to average around $360 million. It recorded $567 million from January to November of last year. The ministry also celebrated the increased state-level contacts which set another record since the official embark of inter-Korean dialogue in 1971. Despite the recent brinkmanship the North is demonstrating toward the United States once again 34 inter-Korean talks were held last year. The ministry official explained nearly 9 percent of the roughly 400 inter-Korean meetings since 1971 took place last year. Meetings that used to take place in China or other third countries have taken place on the peninsula since 1997, in Seoul, Pyeongyang, Mount Geumgang, the truce village of Panmunjeom or Jeju Island. The Inter-Korean talks which first began in order to seek family members separated by Korean War (1950-53) was late highlighted by June 4 Declaration in 1972, June 23 declaration for policy of peaceful reunification in 1973, family reunion in 1985, North-South Joint Declaration on the Denuclearization of Korean Peninsula in 1992 and finally June 15 Joint Declaration in 2000.
by staff reporter
January 02, 2002




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