South Korea repeated its offer to North Korea on Monday for a round of high-level talks, saying it is willing to discuss any issue brought to the negotiating table.
"If North Korea assumes a responsible stance, we will be willing to discuss any issue for improving inter-Korean ties. I once again urge North Korea to agree to the high-level talks as soon as possible."
If the offer is accepted, the possible lifting of South Korean sanctions against North Korea and the resumption of South Korean tours to Mount Kumgang could be discussed.
While South Korea awaits North Korea's response, the unification ministry laid out detailed plans for a fresh inter-Korean infrastructure investment project in a report submitted to the National Assembly.
These include reconstruction projects for the highway that connects the border town of Kaesong to Pyongyang. and the railway that links Kaesong to the northern city of Sinuiju, both of which could begin as early as this year if inter-Korean relations improve.
The report also said Seoul would be open to resuming trade and existing economic cooperation projects with the North. and starting new ones depending on the state of inter-Korean ties, hinting at a possible lifting of sanctions.
Seoul imposed heavy economic sanctions on Pyongyang in 2010, after North Korea's torpedo attack on a South Korean warship.
But in presenting the report to lawmakers on Monday, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae ruled out the possibility of a unilateral lifting of the sanctions, saying the North must come to the negotiating table first to discuss the issue.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.