Amid rising tension, South Korea has stated that they will shut down the industrial park staffed by citizens from South Korea and North Korea. The industrial park shutdown is being done as a response to the missile launch over the weekend by North Korea, during which the country states they launched an Earth observation satellite into space.
The closing of the industrial park is seen as a huge form of sanctions against North Korea. Since the park opened in 2004, North Korea has been able to bring in $540 million into the country. It is being speculated that money being made by North Koreans in the industrial park has been being used for funding the illegal military projects by Un regime. The Unification Minister of South Korea, Hong Yong-pyo, spoke at a news conference where he talked about the potential use of the park’s money in North Korea.
“It appears that such funds have not been used to pave the way to peace as the international community had hoped, but rather to upgrade its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.”
The industrial park, located in the border city of Kaesong, employs 54,000 North Koreans. The park also has 124 South Korean companies doing business within its borders. The closure of the park has forced the South Korean companies to shut down as well. Due to the drastic maneuver by South Korea, the government will be forced to provide compensation to the 124 businesses that have been forcefully shut down with the park closure. South Korean businesses operating in Kaesong are unhappy and call the decision “entirely incomprehensible and unjust.” Ilsung Leports is a business operating in the industrial park. Its chairman, Lee Eun Haeng, commented on the situation.
“For the companies and for their suppliers to survive, the government should give enough compensation. There are hundreds of thousands of South Korean workers and families who rely on the Kaesong park for their living. They have become jobless overnight.”
The last time the industrial park was closed was in April 2013. It was North Korea that closed it then due to tension between the United States and South Korea during their annual war games training. North Korea kept the park closed for four months. When the decision was made to resume operations there, both countries agreed to never close the park down again “under any circumstances.” An official for South Korea commented on when the park would reopen this time.
“Whether the park can be reopened will entirely hinge on North Korea. The North should first dispel the international community’s concerns about its nuclear and missile developments, and provide a favorable atmosphere for our firms to normally operate factories.”
After the most recent missile launch by North Korea, talks between the United States and South Korea have begun about the U.S. positioning an anti-missile defense system in South Korea. China has stated that they do not want the United States strengthening their military presence in the region. Some experts have stated that this most recent violation by North Korea has edged the region closer to a military conflict that could have dire circumstances for the rest of the world.
North Korea has made it clear that they have nuclear weapons, and recently it was confirmed that they successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. If a military conflict were to begin in the region, North Korea may be willing to launch their nuclear arsenal which would be the start of World War 3.
Do you think the decision by South Korea to close the joint industrial park will cause North Korea to respond militarily?
[Photo by Ahn Young-joon/AP]