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Washington Asks for Slowdown of Gaeseong Industrial Complex Project

Washington Asks for Slowdown of Gaeseong Industrial Complex Project

Posted August. 18, 2004 21:58,   


South Korea and the U.S. are likely to confront each other over the Gaeseong industrial complex project, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday.

The grounds of such a prediction lie in a recent demand by Washington that called for Seoul to slow down the construction of the complex because of the possibility that North Korea might channel foreign currency earmarked for Gaeseong into purchasing weapons, the Yomiuri Shimbun said.

This project has made a great headway since June when the selection of a site for the complex was consolidated. Now, the project has progressed enough that some factories within the complex are churning out its products.

If the project is completed as scheduled, in 2012, $ 600 million will flow into Pyongyang per year and that amount may grow up to $ 2 billion after 2020.

The U.S., however, is known to have complained that high-tech appliances and computers of companies that are moving into the complex are subject to “export controls for conventional weapons and sensitive dual-use goods and technologies.” Under the Wassenaar Agreement, an arrangement for such export controls, North Korea has been classified as a “dangerous county,” and as a result, since then has been subject to this control.

As a result, even while tough negotiations over the standard of materials inflow into North Korea are under way, the discrepancy between the two countries is so wide that the negotiations are likely to face serious friction, reported the Shimbun.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com