S. Korean firms threaten to leave shuttered Kaesong

Featured Korea - July 4th, 2013

South Korean firms have threatened to withdraw from the shuttered joint Korean industrial zone.

Representatives of the 123 South Korean companies with operations in Kaesong have repeatedly urged Pyongyang and Seoul to open talks to revive the industrial park, reports AFP.

Operations in Kaesong ground to a halt after North Korea withdrew all its employees from the complex. Seoul, later on, urged its own workers to leave Kaesong.

The park has been shuttered since and this is now taking a toll on South Korean factories, mostly those of manufacturers of electronics and machinery parts whose facilities are especially vulnerable to humidity in the current monsoon weather, particularly in the absence of maintenance.

“The manufacturers of machinery and electronics parts cannot wait any longer. Kaesong must be reopened… or they have to move elsewhere,” said Kim Hak-Kwon, a representative of the electronics manufacturers.

“It has been 92 days since the complex came to a halt… our patience has been stretched beyond its limit.”

Several companies are looking to move facilities to China, he added.

The industrial zone was the last strand of inter-Korean cooperation. Proposed high-level talks between South and North Korea on the fate of the complex were cancelled due to disagreements over protocol.