The government of South Korea has unveiled plans to supply the North with 2 GW of electrical capacity if Pyongyang agrees to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

Under the terms of the proposal, South Korea would also develop transmission lines into the north to supply the power.

South Korea hopes the move will lead to a breakthrough in upcoming talks aimed at persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear programme. South Korea’s deputy foreign minister Song Min-Soon reportedly expects the offer to be hard for the energy-starved state to ignore.

A response from the North is expected before the next round of six-nation talks begins later this month, aimed at persuading North Korea to drop its nuclear programme.

Despite the moves from the South, the North is still expected to demand security guarantees and energy concessions in return for abandoning its weapons plans.

The nuclear standoff began in October 2002 when the USA accused North Korea of operating a weapons programme based on enriched uranium, in violation of a 1994 agreement. The talks will bring together the USA, the two Koreas, China, Russia and Japan.