Resumption of economic cooperation with North Korea is expected to become a new growth driver for South Korea's financial sector and its many industries, Seoul's top financial regulator said Tuesday.
Financial Services Commission (FSC) Chairman Choi Jong-ku made the remarks during a conference hosted by Yonhap Infomax, the financial news and information arm of Yonhap News Agency. The conference aims to debate the prospects of inter-Korean economic cooperation.
Hopes of inter-Korean cooperation have been raised after President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held two rounds of summit talks in recent weeks, with Kim pledging his commitment to denuclearization.
Diplomacy is also in full swing between the United States and North Korea for the planned June 12 summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader.
"There are expectations that inter-Korean economic cooperation could be resumed in the wake of the Panmunjom Declaration," Choi said, referring to a joint declaration after the first summit between Moon and Kim on April 27.
Citing reports from foreign investment banks, Choi said resuming inter-Korean economic cooperation would positively affect South Korea's stock market and the economy as a whole.
If Seoul and Pyongyang agree to resume economic cooperation projects in earnest, Choi said South Korea's economy would benefit to the tune of US$55 billion.
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 News)