October 29, 2007

Indicators of Inter-Korean Interaction and Exchanges

This is a dramatic indicator of the rapid change in inter-Korean relations since the 90s. From mere one person who crossed the border in 1989, a steady increase of cross-border visits (official delegations, group visits, etc.) followed the first summit in 2000, with a huge jump in 2005, that led to a cumulative total of 175,000. In addition to this number, more than 1.4 MILLION South Korean tourists have visited the scenic Mt. Keumgang region in the eastern coast of North Korea, at first, using cruise ships, and later, crossing the DMZ by buses and lodging at South Korean-built hotels and resorts at Mt. Keumgang. Mt. Keumgang tour package is more popular now than the DMZ tour.

This graph shows steady increase in inter-Korean trade, reaching $1 billion mark in 2005. Remarkably, South Korea has emerged as North Korea's second largest trading partner behind China as one-quarter of North Korea's total trade volume is with South Korea. To date, there are 110 inter-Korean business operators with approval given to 82 cooperative projects, the Kaesong industrial complex being the prime example. (Source: Unification Ministry, ROK)

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