Kaesong Complex workers walk from Busan to the DMZ for normalization

Posted on : 2013-07-05 11:53 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Workers hoping July 6 working-level talks will allow them to get back to business

By Kwon O-sung, staff reporter

On July 4, Han Jae-kwon, joint chair of the Emergency Measures Committee for Normalizing the Kaesong Industrial Complex, held a press conference at the committee’s office at the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Businesses headquarters in Yeouido, Seoul. “We will try to visit the North on July 9 to inspect facilities and equipment,” Han said. “We hope that both North and South will take the necessary measures.”

The committee also released a statement indicating that they hope the July 6 working-level meeting that the South Korean government proposed would be successful and have a positive outcome. On July 4, the members of the committee held a meeting to discuss what measures they could take and how they should respond.

However, since working-level meetings between South and North have already broken down on one occasion because of the rank of the delegation leaders, Kaesong tenant companies seem cautious about expecting too much, too soon.

“North Korea also indicated that it would give permission in June, but that did not lead to anyone actually visiting Kaesong,” said Jung Gi-seop, chair of the committee’s planning subcommittee. “I’m sure there are several stages before the complex can be reopened. I just hope that for now, since the equipment has suffered major damage, the North and South Korean authorities will focus on rescuing the Kaesong tenant companies.”

“If North and South intend to normalize Kaesong, they should include visits to the complex as an agenda item in the June 6 meeting,” another committee member said.

On July 4, the branch heads and workers from the companies at Kaesong expressed their earnest desire for normalization of operations at the complex by taking part in a “Great March for a Peaceful Land.” About 50 members of the Kaesong Complex Workers’ Council participated in a ceremony in front of Busan Station before setting off on a march across South Korea. Their destination is Unification Bridge at Imjingak in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. The march is expected to take 24 days.

“The livelihoods of the 2,000 South Korean workers who were employed at Kaesong and the 25,000 employees working at partner companies in South Korea must not be jeopardized for political reasons,” the council said.


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