News / Asia

Seoul 'Not Against' Workers Remaining at Kaesong Complex

South Korean vehicles return from the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea to the customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) office in the South, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, north of Seoul early
South Korean vehicles return from the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea to the customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) office in the South, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, north of Seoul early
South Korea's government says the last seven of its citizens remaining at the Kaesong joint venture complex in North Korea are there voluntarily to handle unresolved issues.

Officials in Seoul say the five members of the management committee and two telecommunications workers decided to stay at Kaesong after 43 other South Koreans returned home.

A Unification Ministry spokesperson says any characterization that the South Koreans are staying in the North against their will is not accurate.

The spokesperson says Seoul is “not against” them remaining in North Korea for a short time to handle Pyongyang's claims concerning unpaid wages, corporate taxes and communications service charges.

Fifty-three thousand North Koreans factory workers left the zone on April 9.  At the time, the North accused the South of insulting its “supreme dignity.”

Last week, South Korea urged all of its citizens, mainly managers of the small and medium-sized textile enterprises, to return home as North Korea was prohibiting the entry of food and other supplies for the idled complex.

South Korea's Minister of Unification, who is in charge of relations with the North in lieu of diplomatic relations, expressed hope that Pyongyang will change its mind and accept the offer of dialogue from Seoul.

But Ryoo Kihl-jae says the act of North Korea pulling out its workers will be long remembered.  And even if operations can again be normalized, Pyongyang “will have to put a lot of effort into restoring the trust ruined by the current situation.”

The North Korean newspaper Minju Joson ran a commentary on Tuesday saying Pyongyang does not care if the South pulls its personnel out of the zone. And should there be a total collapse of the industrial complex, the North “will never pardon” the South.

Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Kurt Campbell told reporters in Seoul the Kaesong shutdown is concerning and should be seen as the latest in a series of disconcerting actions by Pyongyang.

"I don't think that what's taken place with Kaesong marks a watershed in the way that the shelling of the islands, the sinking of the Cheonan [warship] did in the past. However, the accumulation of basically serial provocations has, I think, caused a quiet re-thinking in a variety of capitals about just how difficult it is to construct any engagement strategy with North Korea that could bear fruit,” said Campbell.

Campbell - speaking at the annual Asan Plenum - called for Washington, Seoul and other capitals to “continue to urge China to pressure North Korea” to change its behavior.

North Korea blames South Korea and the United States for the rising tension on the peninsula, contending the allies are poised to invade.

In recent months, the North conducted a provocative space launch and a nuclear test, in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. It also claimed it had voided the 1953 armistice, that it was again in a state of war with the South and that it would launch a preemptive nuclear strike against U.S. bases.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ebola Lockdown May Be Extended

Lockdown, which started Friday, aims to allow health workers to locate hidden Ebola patients, educate others on how to avoid the deadly disease More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: EWJ from: Missouri, USA
May 01, 2013 2:17 AM
"poised to invade?" How about, "poised to ignore, and shun!"

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid