I don’t get the whole Kaesong fixation.
North and South Korea have moved a step closer to reopening a joint industrial complex, raising hopes of improving relations on the peninsula.
Pyongyang and Seoul vowed on Wednesday to “actively” co-operate so that operations could resume, although their statement did not indicate when the Kaesong complex, in the North’s third largest city, might reopen.
The news followed six failed rounds of talks on the issue. Pyongyang said last week that it would reopen the zone – minutes after Seoul indicated it was willing to see the facility closed permanently. Kaesong was the last symbol of inter-Korean engagement until this spring, when tensions soared with the North threatening nuclear strikes against the South and the US after sanctions for its third atomic test in February. It then pulled its 53,000 workers from the site.
Seoul’s chief delegate, Kim Kiwoong, told South Korean media that Wednesday’s joint statement was “not the end but a beginning”.
Unexpectedly, Seoul and Pyongyang said they also sought to attract foreign companies adding that internet and mobile phone connections would be added to the site.
North Korea has sought foreign investors for other economic zones, but companies are likely to be even warier of Kaesong after the four-month shutdown. One of Seoul’s key demands has been a reassurance that Pyongyang will not pull out its workers again.
But has ever a negotiation been conducted in such bad faith by both sides. Seoul looks especially hypocritical – and that’s quite a feat considering Pyongyang’s tactics.