Banks preparing for possible resumption of inter-Korean projects

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jun 14, 2018 - 10:16
  • Updated : Jun 14, 2018 - 10:16

South Korean banks have stepped up preparations for a possible resumption of economic projects in North Korea, as a historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un raised hopes of more reconciliation between Seoul and Pyongyang.

After about five hours of talks in Singapore on Tuesday, Trump and Kim signed a joint statement committing to the "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." But the statement fell short on details of how the North's denuclearization would be achieved.

Hopes of inter-Korean cooperation have been raised since President Moon Jae-in and Kim held summit talks in April, with Kim pledging his commitment to denuclearization.

This photo, carried by North Korea`s state-run newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, shows North Korea`s leader Kim Jong-un (left) shaking hands with US President Donald Trump after signing an agreement at their summit in Singapore, Tuesday. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

South Korean banks, including Shinhan Financial Group and KB Financial Group -- have set up task forces to conduct research on inter-Korean economic projects.

Earlier this month, Shinhan Financial launched a task force on North Korea.

The task force was manned by executives from the financial holding firm's affiliates, including Shinhan Bank.

KB Financial has also set up a task force to review how it could take part in North Korea's fiancial business operations if inter-Korean cooperation gains further momentum.

KEB Hana Bank will launch a team to draw up plans for financial support in North Korea when inter-Korean economic projects resume.

An official at KEB Hana Bank said the bank is interested in opening a branch in North Korea, but it will be possible "when political conditions are ripe."

Two major inter-Korean economic cooperation projects -- tours to North Korea's Mount Kumgang and the joint industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong -- were suspended after Pyongyang's provocative actions over the years. (Yonhap)