Unification Minister nominee Cho Myoung-gyun on Tuesday called for a restart of an inter-Korean factory park that was shuttered last year in punishment for Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile test, despite controversy over its potential breach of sanctions.
“The Kaesong Industrial Complex must be reopened,” Cho told reporters at the Office of the Inter-Korean Dialogue in downtown Seoul shortly after the announcement of his nomination. “I will speak after looking thoroughly into the details.”
Cho Myoung-gyun, the nominee for South Korea`s unification minister, speaks to reporters on June 13, 2017. (Yonhap)
His remarks reflect President Moon Jae-in’s fundamental vision for the district’s revival. Given the North’s unrelenting weapons tests and an ongoing global sanctions campaign, the government is seeking to pursue the reopening in line with progress on the nuclear issues.
While at the ministry, Cho led a bureau tasked with supporting the factory park and the bureau for inter-Korean exchange and cooperation, among others. He was also involved in a watershed summit in 2007 between then President Roh Moo-hyun and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
Cho did not rule out the possibility of a summit between Moon and the incumbent ruler Kim Jong-un, calling it “one of the issues to pursue if necessary in working out inter-Korean relations.”
He lamented the protracted strains in the cross-border ties but cautioned against prejudging the prospects for cross-border ties under Moon.
“It’s complex. I guess it’s a combination of North Korea’s constant nuclear and missile tests, the international community’s response and the change in the public view,” Cho said, when asked about the reason behind the standoff.
“The relationship is in a far more complicated and difficult situation than when I was in office 10 years ago but I don’t think it is supposed to be assessed whether it’s going well or not at this point.”
By Shin Hyon-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org
) and Jung Min-kyung (email@example.com)