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 Somali, AU Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    Somalia’s Western backers frustrated over country’s slow progress in establishing its armed forces to bring security after 25 years of chaos

    Israel Makes Push for Gaza Strip Recovery

    After years of economic blockade and attempts to disable Hamas, Israeli leaders eventually realized that Hamas’ downfall could lead to chaos or the rise of a more radical Jihadist group

    Slump in Chinese Tourists Hitting Hong Kong Retail

    Mainland Chinese account for up to three-quarters of visitors to Hong Kong, but that number is falling, and shopping centers are struggling to 'shift gears' and maintain sales

    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.
    Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shababi
    X
    Henry Ridgwell
    April 28, 2016 4:20 PM
    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Town Receives Refugees but Lacks Resources

    A wave of refugees is pouring into the Kurdish town of Afrin in northern Syria as a result of fighting between rebel forces and Islamic State militants. VOA’s Amina Misto went to the town and reports local authorities are finding it difficult to cope with this influx of internally displaced people. Bronwyn Benito narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Build Human Tissue on Animal Matrix

    The question has always been, if a gecko can grow back its tail, why can't we regenerate our lost body parts? Well, maybe we can, someday. Scientists are moving towards the ability to rebuild fully functioning organs, and have made significant progress replacing muscles and other tissue.
    Video

    Video Containing Chernobyl Radiation Continues 30 Years After Explosion

    April 26 marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. Hundreds were killed following the explosion and it's estimated that thousands more have died from cancers caused by the radiation. Henry Ridgwell traveled to Chernobyl and reports for VOA on the continuing efforts to decommission the site -- and on the fledgling plans for a new future in the vast exclusion zone.
    Video

    Video Frustration Builds Among Refugees Trapped at Macedonian Border

    On the Greek border with Macedonia, 12,000 refugees continue to wait. Since the route to the rest of Europe was closed last month, the makeshift camp at Idomeni has seen protests and tear gas. But while those here wait, their frustration grows — as do reports of people attempting to find new ways of continuing their journey. John Owens reports from Idomeni.
    Video

    Video Researchers: Bees Help Kenyan Farmers Fend Off Elephants

    Elephant crop-raiding continues to be a major source of human-wildlife conflict in Kenya, so one elephant researcher is helping to alleviate the problem near Tsavo East National Park with beehive fences, which use elephants’ natural aversion to bees to deter them from farms. VOA’s Jill Craig visited the area ahead of this month's Giants Club Summit, which will bring together dignitaries at Mount Kenya to find solutions to combat poaching, the No. 1 threat to elephants.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora