Go to contents

Reporters, Lawmakers Left Off of Gaesong Complex Visit List

Reporters, Lawmakers Left Off of Gaesong Complex Visit List

Posted March. 27, 2007 07:29,   


“An accident was sure to happen.”

In a visit to the Gaesong Industrial Complex on March 26 headed by Uri Party Chairman Chung Sye-kyun and 20 party members, some representatives and reporters were unable to enter North Korea because their names had not been included on the visiting list. In particular, four reporters found out that their visit to the North had not been approved only after they arrived at the inter-Korean border office in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, on the morning of March 26, and they had to turn back with the Gaesong Complex right in front of them.

The visit of the Uri Party leadership to the Gaesong Complex was in order to convey determination to pursue continuous talks for an inter-Korean summit meeting and business in the Gaesong Complex. It was a large-scale visit to the North with an 80-member delegation, including party executives, officials from the Unification Ministry, and Hyundai Asan officials.

However, the Uri Party failed to handle the most basic preparations such as confirming the names of the visiting group, and realized only on March 25, the day before the trip, that some party members had been left off the list. Hence, some members including Rep. Chae Soo-chan were asked to cancel their visit to the North. But the fact that the names of some reporters had not been included on the list was not noticed until the day of the visit.

When visiting the Gaesong Industrial Complex or other areas in North Korea, an approval from the Ministry of Unification is needed at least three days ahead of the visit. An Uri Party official explained, “There must have been an error in the administrative process of notifying the Gaesong Industrial Complex project team of the list of the visitors to North Korea.”

However, it was also pointed out that this incident was a “result of hastily pursuing the visit to the Gaesong Complex.” The Uri Party has been preoccupied with the recent North Korean issue so much that a North Korea visit “rush” was created because of the numerous scheduled visits to the North by Uri Party members and presidential candidates.

Chairman Chung’s Gaesong Complex visit had been scheduled for March 15, but had suddenly been postponed. It is said that Chung’s visit to North Korea was adjusted several times to avoid March 28, which is the date scheduled for former chairman Chung Dong-young’s visit to the North.