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

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters 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.
Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmakingi
X
Bernard Shusman
May 24, 2015 2:55 PM
According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.
Video

Video Effort Underway to Limit Damage from California Oil Spill

Cleanup crews are working around the clock to remove oil from the waters off the coastal city of Santa Barbara, in California. About 380,000 liters of oil may have leaked out before a rupture in an onshore, underground pipeline was discovered Tuesday. The environmental disaster hit the popular West Coast resort area before the Memorial Day weekend. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports investigators have yet to determine what caused the incident.

VOA Blogs