May 22, 2022

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South Korean court rules closing Kaesong Industrial Complex was constitutional

Decisions ends yearslong case brought by tenant firms against Seoul’s 2016 suspension of inter-Korean project

South Korea’s Constitutional Court ruled on Thursday that the closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex did not violate the constitution, in a decision that could impact future efforts to restart the marquee inter-Korean project combining capital from the South and labor from the North.

The ruling concludes a yearslong case that began in 2016 when the complex’s tenant companies filed a petition against former President Park Geun-hye’s decision to suspend the operation in February that year. The Seoul government took the action in response to the North’s missile and nuclear tests, alleging that Pyongyang funneled funds from the project based in the DPRK’s border city of Kaesong toward those activities.