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UPDATED: 10:58, June 07, 2004
Two Koreas to open Intra-Korean sea routes
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Sea routes between the two Korea will be completely opened from August.

The South Korean Ministry of Maritime Affaires and Fisheries announced Sunday that North and South Korea exchanged letters of agreement on sea transportation and attachments during the 9th inter-Korean economic talks held from June 2 to 5 in Pyongyang. The gist of the agreement is opening ports and sea routes between North and Korea. The opening is expected to accelerate overseas exchange and increase trade.

The North and the South agreed on approving the sea routes between the two Koreas as an internal route between Koreans, not as a route between countries, and 7 ports will be opened as a primary step. The sea routes will connect the Southern ports of Incheon, Gunsan, Yeosu, Busan, Ulsan, Pohang and Sokcho and the Northern ports of Nampo, Haeju, Kosong, Wonsan, Heungnam and Najin.

The North and the South will also allocate areas to board and unload cargo and agreed to equally treat trading vessel from both sides. The two Koreas also agreed on joint countermeasures when accidents occur at sea like ships running ashore or collisions and emergency medical situations. Consultation structures will also be established between the the maritime authorities of the North and South to hold conferences on all matters.

The agreement needs to be approved by the National Assembly. The agreement will immediately come into effect with the exchange of final agreements after going through internal procedures. The South Korean government predicts that the sea routes will be completely opened in mid-August.

Source: Agencies

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