* Date : 2017-02-18
Foreign Correspondents Ep.21
Temporary closure of Kaesong Industrial Complex marks 1st anniversary
February 10 marks the 1st anniversary of Kaesong complex shutdown. After the first products rolled out of factories, the complex became the symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation, using the South's technology and capital and the North's manpower. Despite all the difficulties, Kaesong Industrial Complex surpassed the 2 billion dollar mark in 9 years since its opening. But on January 6th, 2016, Pyongyang carried out its 4th nuclear test. A month later on February 7th, it test-fired a long-range rocket, while Seoul's unification ministry raised the stakes with 'the temporary shutdown of Kaesong Industrial Complex.' Amid the ongoing heated debate, more than a year have passed after the shutdown. Once 'a symbol of reconciliation and peace between South and North Korea,' Kaesong Industrial Complex became 'the evidence of strained relations between the two Koreas.'
Uncertainty of Kaesong Industrial Complex
More than a year after the shutdown, the South Korean companies are still hoping for the resumption of the operation of Kaesong Industrial Complex. This looks increasingly difficult, as the Trump administration in the U.S. looks to be taking a hardline stance against Pyongyang. On February 7th, the U.S. Congress denounced North Korea's development of intercontinental ballistic missiles and introduced a resolution that calls for the swift deployment of THAAD to South Korea. Meanwhile, on the 12th, North Korea test-fired what it described as a medium- to intermediate-range ballistic missile, again stirring up tensions on the peninsula. America's strong commitment to tight sanctions on North Korea and Pyongyang's continual provocations, for now, are likely to add another layer of uncertainty to the reopening of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Will the complex be opened in the near future? We sit down to discuss on the current situation and the future of Kaesong Industrial Complex.