Go to contents

Koreas to Study Int`l Industrial Zones in China, Vietnam

Koreas to Study Int`l Industrial Zones in China, Vietnam

Posted November. 27, 2009 08:31,   


The two Koreas yesterday agreed to a joint inspection of international industrial zones in China and Vietnam in mid-December to help develop their joint business complex in Kaesong, North Korea.

Seoul also said it can accept Pyongyang’s suggestions if it holds bilateral talks on resuming tours to Mount Kumgang and Kaesong.

South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung told a news briefing in Seoul yesterday, “North Korea recognized the need to carry out a joint inspection and agreed to it. We made the suggestion in working-level talks on the Kaesong industrial complex in June. The joint inspection team will consist of 10 South Koreans and 10 North Koreans working over a 10-day period.”

Representatives from the two Koreas jointly visited China’s industrial zones in 2005 and 2007, and their planned visits to China and Vietnam next month will be their third.

The ministry said both sides will visit successful industrial zones in China and Vietnam to learn ways to raise the competitiveness of the Kaesong complex. For example, they will observe regulations on the development, management and operation of the zones; incentives to draw investment; support services for companies; and transit and customs systems.

A high-ranking South Korean official said Wednesday, “To turn the Kaesong industrial complex into an internationally competitive industrial zone, we need to observe market procedures and a system accepted on the global market. The joint inspection is a chance to deal with transit, communication, customs clearance, entry and sojourn issues, and to consider building roads and dormitories for North Korean workers.”

“We are also planning to expand the fire control facilities of the Kaesong industrial complex to make them comparable to a general mid-level fire station in South Korea.”

On the resumption of the Mount Kumgang and Kaesong tours, spokesman Chun said, “Working-level officials need to hold a meeting on relevant issues such as a security guarantee for tourists.”

He also said Seoul is willing to accept Pyongyang’s suggestion if it officially asks for bilateral dialogue.

Chun, however, said paying the North could violate U.N. Resolution 1874, which tightly restricts monetary transactions with the communist country. So the South could pay the North in kind with food aid and other goods in exchange for the tours, instead of giving money, which can be used for military buildup, he said.

“Fundamentally, we believe the Mount Kumgang tour does not violate U.N. Resolution 1874,” Chun said. “We’ve not yet considered changing the method of payment but will consider relevant measures when the two Koreas discuss whether to resume the tour.”