Energy Cooperation on the Korean Peninsula: Low on Power

The Korean Peninsula is witnessing a new era of co-existence after its long period of confrontation following the Korean War. But rapid political developments conceal serious economic problems in the North resulting from catastrophic cuts in energy production. Providing power is straining resources in the South but international energy cooperation offers North Korea the chance to develop, increase revenue and gain political clout.

The World Today Updated 26 October 2020 Published 1 February 2001 5 minute READ

Professor Keun-Wook Paik

Former Associate Fellow, Energy, Environment and Resources Programme

Since the historic north-south summit last June, inter-Korea relations have been progressing at a breathtaking pace inconceivable a year ago. Athletes from the two Koreas marched into the Sidney Olympics under a special unification flag, and cabinet ministers, including defence chiefs met to discuss joint projects such as a railway across the border. The South Korean president has been awarded the Nobel peace prize.

The June summit opened the door for the visit to Pyongyang of the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright which itself followed Vice-Marshal Jo Myongrok’s welcome at the White House. There’s been serious talk of a US presidential visit to North Korea and the normalisation of relationships between Japan and the North is only a matter of time.

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