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North Korea Demands More Aid

Posted October. 29, 2005 03:14,   


The 11th meeting of the South-North economic cooperation promotion committee failed to reach an agreement at Gaesong on Thursday. The South stood by the “give and take” principle it proposed at this meeting.

In the meantime, the North announced accounting verification rules for the Gaesong Industrial Complex Thursday to ensure objectivity and fairness of accounting verification in case of the creation, merger, or division of the companies in the Gaesong Industrial Complex.

“Give and Take”-

This meeting discussed detailed action plans to implement agreements made at the previous talks, which were held in Seoul in July.

At the 10th round of meetings, the two parties agreed that the South would provide the North with raw materials for light industrial products, such as shoes, clothing, and soap, and that the North would, in return, develop underground resources such as zinc and magnesite.

The two parties engaged in preliminary discussions for four days last week ahead of the meeting, but the talks made little progress. This was mainly because the North demanded an unexpectedly excessive amount of raw materials while ignoring the agreement, and requested free aid.

The South’s negotiator said the North failed to provide concrete answers to his repeated questions of, “What can you offer in return?”

North Korea requested 20,000~30,000 tons of soap and clothing each, in addition to raw materials for 50-60 million pairs of shoes, immediately after the 10th round of the meeting. It continued to request the same amount of raw materials until the end of 11th round of the meeting.

The South’s negotiator said, “We didn’t feel the need to compromise, given that we can’t expect the North to offer anything in return.”

Accounting Verification Rules for Gaesong Industrial Complex-

The Korea News Service, the official news agency of the North Korean government, reported that the accounting verification became mandatory for companies registered with the authorities in charge of the Gaesong Industrial Complex, as well as its branches, sales offices, and businessmen who invested more than $1 million or recorded sales/service revenues of more than $3 million last year.

It means that South Korean corporations in the complex are guaranteed to run their operations in accordance with the South’s accounting audit standards.

Myoung-Gun Lee Young-Hae Choi gun43@donga.com yhchoi65@donga.com