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, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More