[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

South Korea rejects North demands

Seoul describes Pyongyang's conditions to re-starting the Kaesong Industrial Complex as 'incomprehensible'

Last Modified: 06 May 2013 03:26
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
All North and South Korean workers have left Kaesong Industrial Complex amid soaring military tensions [Reuters]

South Korea has dismissed an "incomprehensible" list of North Korean demands for reviving suspended operations at a jointly-run industrial park.

"The North's demand, as you probably know, is completely incomprehensible and unfair," Kim Hyung-Seok, spokesman for Seoul's Unification Ministry which handles inter-Korean affairs, said on Monday.

"We urge the North again... to come forward for dialogue instead of making such unfair demands," Kim told reporters.

The Kaesong Industrial Complex, opened north of the border in 2004 as a rare symbol of cooperation, has been shut indefinitely with the withdrawal of all North and South Korean workers amid soaring military tensions.

On Sunday, the North's National Defence Commission led by leader Kim Jong-Un said re-starting the complex would require the South to cease all "hostile acts and military provocations."

It cited preparations for a joint South Korea-US military drill scheduled for August, as well as activists and defectors who use balloons to send anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border.

Military drills to proceed

The South's defence ministry said there no plans to cancel the upcoming military exercise with the United States.

"Kaesong was built on the principle that politics and the economy are two separate matters, so it is inappropriate to link the joint military drill with Kaesong," a ministry spokesman told reporters.

Normally, 53,000 North Koreans work at factories owned by some 120 South Korean firms in Kaesong, which has in the past remained largely immune to strains in inter-Korean relations.

But as military tensions escalated in the wake of the North's nuclear test in February, Pyongyang barred South Korean access to the zone and pulled out all its 53,000 workers early last month.

Seoul withdrew all its nationals last week. A final group of seven returned Friday night after the South had sent cars loaded with $13 million in cash to the estate to cover unpaid wages and taxes.

Neither of the two Koreas has officially declared the complex closed, and Kim Hyung-Seok said Seoul continued to supply a "minimum" amount of electricity to the apparently empty complex.

South Korean police triggered an angry protest from activists on Saturday when they prevented the planned launch of anti-North leaflets over the border.

361

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In Brussels, NGO staff are being trained to fill the shortfall of field workers in West Africa.
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
join our mailing list