North Korea

Kim Jong-un received a USB from South Korea’s president with a blueprint for connecting North Korea with the world

The USB appears to provide a further incentive for Kim to keep the agreements made between North and South Korea at the summit

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 May, 2018, 11:21am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 May, 2018, 12:56pm

By Tara Francis Chan

When North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un stepped across the border to meet South Korea’s president last month, Moon Jae-in offered up a historic handshake, a day full of symbolism, a much-lauded agreement, and endless drinks at dinner time.

North and South Korea pledge to end all hostilities and work for nuclear-free peninsula

But he also reportedly gave Kim one more thing — a USB.

According to various local media citing the South Korean president’s residence, the Blue House, Moon gave Kim a book and USB containing an e-book and presentation on the “New Economic Map of the Korean Peninsula,” which Moon first announced last year.

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The map is a blueprint for how economic cooperation between the two Koreas could work and includes three “belts” — one along the east coast and Russia for energy and resources, another along the west coast for transportation and logistics, and a third across the land border for tourism.

Moon likely wants the map, which includes gas pipes and an inter-Korean train network that could connect with China, Russia, and Europe, to entice North Korea to keep to the Panmunjom Declaration signed at the DMZ.

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A Blue House official said the USB also included “information related to a power plant,” reported Korea JoongAng Daily. 

The purpose of giving Kim the flash drive appears to be an attempt to further convince Kim that North Korea needs international economic support rather than sanctions. 

“The USB makes the case to Kim — there really is another path for you,” John Delury, a North Korea expert at Yonsei University, told Axios. “[It says] we’re serious about working with you for what we think is your real ambition — to be a wealthy East Asian country.”

USBs are frequently smuggled into North Korea allowing people to watch banned content including South Korean and Hollywood films, as well as global news. Many defectors say foreign content on USBs played a part in their decision to defect.

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Defector groups often send USBs along with mini radios, flyers and US$1 notes in balloons across the border. But a release on Saturday in South Korea was blocked by police after North and South Korea agreed to end leaflet drops last month. 

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