The 9th Meeting of Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation
Discussing the way forward for the New Northern Policy amid the tectonic shift in international political landscape
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 9:30 a.m.
① Current changes in the international order and how to implement the New Northern Policy in 2021
- Maintaining consistent and continuous cooperation in response to uncertainty in the international political arena
- Focusing on making outcomes visible especially in top priorities realizable within this year
- Creating a favorable environment for cooperation on mid-to-long-term initiatives and keeping up the momentum for future accomplishments
② Ministerial and local governmental plans in 2021 for the New Northern Policy
- Enhancing the driving force for the New Northern Policy by further strengthening multifaceted cooperation in economy and diplomacy
- Taking action on core agenda by working together with relevant ministries, local governments and relevant organizations
③ Korea-Russia cooperation measures to build an international hydrogen supply chain
- Positive assessment on Russia’s potentials in hydrogen production and supply, and the emphasis on the need for the Korea-Russia cooperation
q The Presidential Committee on Northern Economic Cooperation (Chairman Goohoon Gwon, hereinafter referred to as “the Committee”) on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. at the Press Club in Korea Press Center, held its 9th general meeting presided by the Chairman with the participation of the committee members from the public and private sectors and other stakeholders from relevant organizations.
q The Meeting took place first in this year to discuss how to carry out the New Northern Policy in the face of the current changes in the international order and the post-Covid-19 era.
Three agenda items were submitted, including the 1) Current changes in the international order and how to implement the New Northern Policy in 2021, 2) Ministerial and local governmental plans in 2021 for the New Northern Policy, and 3) Korea-Russia cooperation measures to build an international hydrogen supply chain.
q Chairman Gwon opened the meeting with his remarks on the implications on the New Northern Policy of current shifts in the international scene, for instance, the launch of new administration in the U.S. and the global outbreak of Covid-19 and the recovery from it.
First, he underlined the importance of consistent and continuous cooperation, and in that, economy and diplomacy should go together to broaden the role of Korea amid the profound transformation of the international landscape surrounding Northeast Asia.
The chairman also put emphasis on the need for new cooperation projects in response to the transition towards the digital and green economy in the post-pandemic era as well as the importance of cooperation considerate to the diversity of individual countries and their needs.
He added that, with more and more growing uncertainty in the situation surrounding the Peninsula, we had all the more reason to maintain the momentum of cross-border cooperation regarding a new economic map of the Korean Peninsula to create a synergy between economic cooperation and the establishment of permanent peace.
q Chairman Gwon affirmed his willingness to continue collaboration with relevant ministries and organizations to make significant progress of the New Northern Policy in this year, and he presented the ways to do so as below.
First, the Committee will focus on boosting diplomatic cooperation by pursuing high-level exchanges and the visits of the heads of states from the Northern Region, and the International Forum for Northern Economic Cooperation to be held in the second half of this year will serve as a venue to deal with economic and diplomatic issues combined together.
Second, the Committee will pave the way for advancement into overseas markets by continuing cooperation on the Industrial Complex in Russia’s Primorsky Krai and the Pilot Korea-China International Cooperation Zone, and arrange celebration events for the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Korea and its northern neighbors.
Third, ushering in the post-Covid-19 era, the Committee will widely introduce Korea’s healthcare system and launch a Northeast Asia Cooperation Initiative for Disease Control and Public Health while expanding cooperation in electronic government and future new industries as well as environmental cooperation to tackle climate change.
Fourth, considering the heightened demands for development in the northern countries and their financial climate, the Committee will provide ODA programs tailored to each recipient, make good use of financial and innovation platforms, including the Korea-Russia Joint Investment Fund, promote cooperation among central banks in the region and rapidly proceed with the FTAs with China, Russia and Uzbekistan respectively.
Fifth, the Committee will strengthen Korea’s partnership with relevant nations by joining the Organization for Cooperation of Railways (OSJD) for an integrated network across Eurasia and holding the International Forum for East Asia Railway Community.
q These were what the Current Changes in the International Order and How to Implement the New Northern Policy in 2021, which the Committee briefed on, was about, and in relation thereto, the Ministerial and Local Governmental Plans in 2021 for the New Northern Policy was developed in collaboration with relevant ministries and local governments.
The Committee will concentrate on making visible outcomes in key priority areas within this year while putting efforts to lay the groundwork for mid-to-long-term cooperation for challenging tasks hard to reap the results in the immediate future due to the realistic obstacles such as international sanctions.
It has reclassified the existing initiatives of the New Northern Policy into 8 key areas* and 70 major tasks, and with relevant ministries, it will keep track on the developments to systematically manage the progress from both short- and long-term perspectives and achieve the maximum possible results.
* ① Korea’s disease control strategy and healthcare, ② Cultural and educational exchanges, ③ Agriculture and fisheries cooperation, ④ Financial, trade and innovation platforms, ⑤ Digital and green cooperation, ⑥ Industrial infrastructure cooperation, ⑦ Integrated network establishment, and ⑧ Cooperation agenda tailored to each region
q Followed was the presentation of Korea Energy Economics Institute (hereinafter referred to as “KEEI”) on policy proposals based on the findings of its research, the Korea-Russia Cooperation Measures to Build an International Hydrogen Supply Chain, keeping up with the government’s initiative of advancing the hydrogen economy.
KEEI positively assessed the potentials of Russia in the production and supply of hydrogen and highlighted the need to prioritize hydrogen cooperation with Russia given geographical proximity, that is, the core element of economic feasibility in importing hydrogen from abroad.
q Chairman Gwon closed the meeting by saying, “This year as well, the Committee will do the best to create a virtuous circle of establishing a Northeast Asia peace regime and realizing co-prosperity in Eurasia by further enhancing multifaceted cooperation in economy and diplomacy.”
And he added a request to relevant ministries and organizations to keep working on to make the undermined impetus of the New Norther Policy due to the Covid-19 pandemic gather its pace and to focus capabilities first and foremost on viable policies.