select languages
sns RSS mobile twitter
latestnewslatestnews RSS
Yonhap Editorials
Home > Yonhap Editorials
(Yonhap Editorial) P'yang advised to be prudent over industrial complex issue
SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has now gone and commented on the fate of the inter-Korean industrial complex following a series of its incessant military threats and intimidations against South Korea.

   On Saturday, the North's General Bureau for Central Guidance to the Development of the Special Zone said in a statement that it will "shut down the zone (the complex) without mercy" if South Korea continues "to tarnish the image of North Korea" even a bit.

   In making the threat, the North upbraided South Korean news media's earlier reports that Pyongyang is unlikely to shut down the complex despite its threats of going to nuclear war against Seoul and Washington because the complex is a main source for the cash-strapped country to earn U.S. dollars.
The complex, located in the North's western border town of Kaesong, is a product of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation through the first-ever inter-Korean summit between the late South and North Korean leaders -- Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-il.
The mixture of the South's technology and capital, and the North's cheap labor force began its operations in December 2004, and currently houses 123 small South Korean companies hiring some 54,000 North Korean workers.

   According to recent data from the South Korean Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs, North Korea raked in some US$800 million through the complex last year.

   Pyongyang one-sidedly cut off an inter-Korean military hotline used as a channel to exchange information on the cross-border passage of South Korean businessmen and workers on Wednesday but continues to allow South Koreans to enter the complex.

   The Kaesong complex has maintained a relative stable level over the past eight years in spite of stiff inter-Korean confrontations and the North's bloody armed provocations.

   Indeed, the complex has served as a foundation for inter-Korean cooperation and peace, apart from its reciprocal economic values as a cash cow for the North and profitability for South Korean companies.

   Now the complex can be called as the last bastion that the two Koreas should not give up for the sake of inter-Korean unification that will surely be materialized sometime in the future.

   Pyongyang is unlikely to take substantial measures to close the complex for the moment as it used the conditional "if" when making threats to close the complex.

   North Korea should prudently act in consideration of political and economical impacts that can occur if it enforces the shutdown.

   On Sunday, South Korean businessmen active in the complex expressed deep worries over the North's threats and urged the two Koreas to stop unproductive political arguments for the development of the complex and inter-Korean relations. The Seoul government also said there is no change in its policy of stably maintaining the complex.

   The North is advised to pay heed to the South Korean voices and behave prudently.

   The Seoul government should make preparations to handle the possibility of a shutdown by the North because the North's young leader Kim Jong-un is very unpredictable given his previous behaviors.

   It should work out comprehensive measures, among other things, to safeguard its citizens in the complex with a possibility of their seizure by the North in mind.

   Moreover, chances are high the industrial base will be shut down in case the North makes a military provocation, which cannot be ruled out given the bellicose threats thus far.

   Pyongyang has pumped out various threats - pre-emptive nuclear attacks, the nullification of an inter-Korean armistice agreement and a declaration of a state of war -- since the U.N. approval of sanctions against Pyongyang over its third nuclear test.
But there is nothing it can get from such provocative threats.
Pyongyang should immediately stop its remarks and actions that can escalate tension on the Korean Peninsula.