June 17, 2021

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The Kaesong calculus: Is the inter-Korean project worthwhile?

North and South both play brinksmanship, but seem to understand KIZ’s importance

In June 2003, at the height of the Sunshine Policy of intra-Korean reconciliation, a ground-breaking ceremony took place near the North Korean city of Kaesong. The ceremony launched a construction project that in due time became the Kaesong Industrial Zone (KIZ), the largest of joint North-South projects realized so far.

Many observers (including myself) met the news with skepticism, but they – or should I say “we” – have been proven wrong: The project has survived and even prospered, though not to the extent that optimists hoped back in 2003.