[EDITORIALS]Watery inter-Korean tiesAfter giving the South notice, the North is releasing water from the Geumgangsan Dam to prepare for the rainy season. The water entered the Bukhan River in the South without incident. This was the first time the North has given us such notice on water releases, and we hope it presages better cooperation on such issues.
South Koreans, especially those living in the affected area, are somewhat relieved that reinforcing the Peace Dam here is now somewhat less a concern, even though the North is increasing the Geumgangsan Dam's storage capacity.
The North did not let the South know exactly when or how much water would be released. Neither have they responded to our proposal for joint research on the Geumgangsan Dam, which appears from satellite photographs to have a structural problem. We regret those decisions by the North. Geumagangsan Dam poses problems that the two Koreas should resolve. A joint research group should be formed quickly to check the safety of the dam and come up with additional safety measures if required. The North has no reason to avoid forming such a team if the dam is as safe as the North says.
The North should show some effort to restart the inter-Korean economic cooperation committee's work; a meeting in May was postponed indefinitely. The South should also push to resume the important work of the committee. In addition to Seoul's proposal to discuss the North's dam, a joint study is needed on ways to prevent floods in the area where the Imjin River flows from the North to the South.
Other committee work includes relinking the Gyeongui railroad, establishing an industrial complex in Gaeseong, and sending electricity to the North. Politics complicates economics, and we have often seen the two mixed in inter-Korean dialogue.
Inter-Korean economic relations must be reciprocal; we must overcome obstacles by looking at the benefits for both sides. We appreciate the North's positive attitude in notifying the South of its water release from the Geumgangsan Dam. That could be a good model for how the South and the North can solve other problems.