The two Koreas would be able to restart cooperation at the now-shuttered Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) without violating international sanctions, a prominent advisor to the South Korean government told NK News, urging Seoul and Pyongyang to pursue inter-Korean economic cooperation and exchanges as a matter of priority.
Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with the NK News podcast recorded last week, Moon Chung-in — who serves as a special advisor on foreign affairs and national security to the ROK President — also said the Moon Jae-in administration should consider allowing South Korean tourists to visit Pyongyang and Mount Kumgang.
“What we are concerned about is the transfer of bulk cash,” Moon, who also works as a distinguished professor at Yonsei University, said, arguing there were “several other measures” that would allow cooperation, on hold since 2016, to restart.
“We can resume the Kaesong Industrial Complex by providing the wages to North Korean workers individually, that wouldn’t violate the UN sanctions resolutions,” he continued, proposing the North Koreans could set up third-party run escrow account in a South Korean bank for “the transfer of other expenses, such as for land use.”
“North Koreans could buy, from South Korea, consumer goods, some raw materials, etc,” he added. “There are several ways to restart the Kaesong Industrial Complex.”
Rejecting what he described as the “taboo” around discussing the reopening of the KIC, the Blue House Special Advisor reiterated his view that economic cooperation could help spur progress in currently-stalled nuclear negotiations between the DPRK and the U.S.
“What we should is we should come up with more creative ways of reviving Kaesong Industrial Complex and trying to change North Korean behavior on the nuclear issue,” he argued.
The comments by Moon, who does not serve as an official spokesperson for the South Korean government but who is widely seen as highly influential, come several weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump ruled out a reopening of the KIC.
Speaking during a summit with the South Korean President last month, Trump said he did not believe it was the right time to reopen the facility, where joint work was suspended in the aftermath of the DPRK’s fifth nuclear test.
North Korea has in the past few days stepped up pressure on the South Korean government to pursue a more independent stance from the U.S. and push ahead with reopening the complex, previously agreed to by the two Koreas in September last year.
“The U.S. has no justification to oppose the reoperation of the Kaesong Industrial Zone as it clarified its support for the Panmunjom Declaration… through the Singapore DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement,” online outlet the Meari argued in a commentary on Monday.
“However, the South Korean authorities have postponed the reoperation of the Kaesong Industrial Zone,” it added.
Any restarting of work at the KIC would, however, face major hurdles created by international sanctions against North Korea, particularly those that prohibit the inflow of cash in bulk, the export and import of specific goods, and the establishment of joint ventures.
A group of former KIC businessmen also last week made their ninth official request for the South Korean government to allow them to visit their factories at the complex — a request Seoul is yet to answer.
Featured image: File photo
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 547 words of this article.