Wednesday, August 7, 2013
North Korea blinks minutes after South threatens closure of factory park
President Park may be giving us all a lesson in how to deal with north Korea that we should all know by now. You have to be tough and you cannot back down. And do not be afraid to call the north's bluff. The north has much more to lose in every scenario. I also think her "paradoxical" trustpolitik policy provides the foundation from which to operate because it allows her to engage with the north because she is able to deal from a position a military strength (as long as the ROK/US Alliance holds).
By Jack Kim
SEOUL (Reuters) - Impoverished North Korea said on Wednesday it was reopening the troubled Kaesong industrial zone jointly run with the wealthy South just minutes after Seoul signalled its willingness to let it close for good.
The North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, which handles Pyongyang's ties with Seoul, proposed talks aimed at normalising the project and said the safety of South Koreans visiting the factory park would be guaranteed.
The committee was "prompted by its desire to bring about a new phase of reconciliation, cooperation, peace, reunification and prosperity by normalizing operation in the Kaesong zone", it said in unusually conciliatory remarks.
The comments were carried by the North's official KCNA news agency about 90 minutes after South Korea announced steps to compensate its firms that operate factories in Kaesong for losses - a step widely seen as a move towards shutting down the rivals' last symbol of cooperation.
Reclusive North Korea, for which Kaesong has been a rare source of hard currency, and the South, one of the richest countries in the world, are technically still at war as their 1950-53 civil conflict ended not in a treaty but in a mere truce.
The decision to pay 109 South Korean small and medium-sized manufacturers from a government insurance fund came after the North went for 10 days without responding to what Seoul said was its "final offer" for talks aimed at reopening the project.
South Korea had said it would not wait forever.
The South welcomed the North's change of heart and accepted the proposal for talks to be held on August 14 in Kaesong.
"We hope that a rational solution can be found ... for the normalisation of the Kaesong industrial zone," South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said.
(Continued at the link below)
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