Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Song Young-gil speaks to a moderator of the Aspen Security Forum via video link on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
South Korea's ruling party chairman suggested Wednesday reopening the long-shuttered inter-Korean industrial complex in North Korea's border town of Kaesong will help build trust among the two Koreas and the United States, and ease tension on the Korean Peninsula.
"Reopening the Kaesong Industrial Complex is very critical to building trust between the US, South Korea and North Korea," Rep. Song Young-gil, head of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), said during a session of the Aspen Security Forum, being held online by the US-based Aspen Institute.
"The Kaesong Industrial Complex has a very essential role in easing tensions between the two Koreas and is a very efficient way to change North Korea," Song said.
His call for the resumption of the Kaesong complex comes amid growing hope for improved inter-Korean ties following the reopening of liaison communication hotlines between the countries last week.
The joint factory, a major symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation, was closed in February 2016 in the wake of the North's nuclear and missile tests.
Song said US investment in the joint factory, such as installing a McDonald's restaurant, could send a strong message that Washington is not hostile toward the North.
"It could be a strong symbolic sign that US does not intend to invade North Korea," according to Song.
Reopening the complex would also provide "very strong momentum for inviting the North to the negotiating table for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and reducing Pyongyang's growing dependence on China, he added.
Song also urged US efforts to solve North Korean issues, suggesting North Korea could become "the second Vietnam."
"Since the 1995 normalization of diplomatic relations with the US, Vietnam is now a de facto military ally and deters the expanding Chinese power," Song said. "North Korea can become the second Vietnam. It's up to the US," he suggested.
The chairman also said the North has not carried out any serious military provocations under the Joe Biden administration so far, but the country may go for a provocation at anytime, urging Washington to consider promptly providing humanitarian assistance to the communist country. (Yonhap)