South Korean firms threaten to leave Kaesong joint zone

Dozens of South Korean firms on Wednesday threatened to withdraw from a shuttered joint industrial zone in North Korea, complaining they fell victim to political bickering between the two Koreas.

Representatives of the 123 South Korean companies with factories in Kaesong have repeatedly urged North and South Korea to open talks to revive the moribund industrial park.

Of the 123 companies, 46 are manufacturers of electronics and machinery parts whose facilities are especially vulnerable to humidity in the current monsoon weather 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", Kim Hak-Kwon, who represents the 46 companies, told journalists.

"It has been 92 days since the complex came to a halt... our patience has been stretched beyond its limit", he said.

Kim urged Seoul and Pyongyang to lose no time in allowing company managers to visit the zone for maintenance.

Several companies have been in talks to move facilities out of Kaesong to relocate them abroad including China, Kim said.

Established in 2004 as a rare symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, the Kaesong industrial estate was the most high-profile casualty of months of elevated tensions that followed the North's nuclear test in February.

Operations at the complex just north of the border ground to a halt soon after the North banned entry by southerners on April 3 amid soaring military tensions with Seoul.

About a week later Pyongyang pulled all its workers out, prompting Seoul to withdraw its managers and officials soon afterwards.

Born out of the "Sunshine Policy" of inter-Korean conciliation initiated in the late 1990s by then South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung, Kaesong was a crucial hard currency source for the impoverished North, mainly through its cut of workers' wages.

Neither side has declared the complex officially closed despite the paralysis for the past three months, calling it a temporary shutdown.

Cross-border talks scheduled last month to discuss the fate of the complex were cancelled due to disputes over protocol.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Racist remark vs Pinays not reflective of HK sentiment’
    ‘Racist remark vs Pinays not reflective of HK sentiment’

    The Philippine consulate general in Hong Kong believes that the “racist” statement of legislator Regina Ip against Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong is not reflective of the general sentiments of the Hong Kong community. Hong Kong is home to more than 173,00 Filipinos working mostly as household service workers. “They have left their loved ones back home to earn a decent living taking care of Hong Kong families. This, in turn, has engendered positive impact on both the quality of life …

  • SWS: Gov’t rating sinks to record low
    SWS: Gov’t rating sinks to record low

    “The Aquino administration is firmly determined to carry on and complete priority programs in all five pillars of the Philippine development plan, to ensure that reforms will be sustained by strengthened public institutions, to tread the righteous path and ensure that good governance becomes the norm at all levels of government, and to sustain and make permanent the gains from the transformation of mindsets and institutions,” Coloma added. Lawmakers expressed belief yesterday that the Aquino …

  • ‘Pacmania’ sweeping the nation
    ‘Pacmania’ sweeping the nation

    Manny Pacquiao’s face is on shirts, dolls and postage stamps, his life story is playing in movie houses, and millions are getting ready to party as the Philippine boxing hero’s “fight of the century” nears. Pacmania is sweeping the nation of 100 million people ahead of the May 2 Las Vegas bout against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr. to decide who is the best boxer of their generation. …

  • House committee to put Bangsamoro police under PNP
    House committee to put Bangsamoro police under PNP

    The House ad hoc committee on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will put police forces in the envisioned new autonomous Muslim region under the Philippine National Police (PNP), and not under the regional chief minister. “We will delete the provision in the draft BBL giving the chief minister operational, administrative and disciplinary control over police forces in the region,” Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, committee chairman, said in a television interview. He said under …

  • Phl to seek more US military aid
    Phl to seek more US military aid

    The Philippines said yesterday it would soon ask the United States for more military equipment and training to build its defenses, as it faces Chinese “aggressiveness” in disputed waters. As hundreds of Filipino and American Marines simulated an amphibious assault to reclaim territory from invaders during annual war games, Armed Forces chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang said he was drafting a “wish list” for US aid. Catapang said the Philippines would ask for “equipment and training” when …

  • Senate bill seeks planting of trees in parks, schools
    Senate bill seeks planting of trees in parks, schools

    A bill in the Senate is seeking to require the planting of trees in parks, school grounds, vacant lots and other urban areas nationwide. Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said Bill No. 2566, the Greening Act of 2015, supports and complements the government’s National Greening Program to plant 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of land from 2011 to 2016. “The Philippines was once known for its vast and lush forests,”he said. The Philippines was also named one of the world’s 10 most threatened …

  • ‘No need to convene NSC over sea tension’
    ‘No need to convene NSC over sea tension’

    There is no need to convene the National Security Council at the moment, despite China’s continued provocative activities in the West Philippine Sea. “At this time, the President does not see any need really to convene the NSC,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte yesterday told a news briefing, carried live by state-run PTV-4 and radio station dzRB. …

  • Fisherman narrates Chinese harassment at sea
    Fisherman narrates Chinese harassment at sea

    Fishing is the only livelihood available for Efren Montehermoso Jr. But after a huge Chinese ship drove away his small fishing boat near the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, he promised never to return to the area for fear of his life. Montehermoso of Barangay Cato in Infanta town was among the group of 80 Filipino fishermen driven away by Chinese coast guard on April 9. Montehermoso said they went to the disputed area not to fish but just to seek temporary …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options