South Korean companies that were forced to suspend operations in North Korea called on Friday for the resumption of the Kaesong Industrial complex, which they said can promote the creation of an inter-Korean economic community.
In a forum held by the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business, Shin Han-yong, the head of a private task force representing South Korean firms that have production facilities in Kaesong, said, "Cross-border ties such as the resumption of the Kaesong complex will be essential in laying the foundation for a connected economic community."
In this photo taken on Sept. 28, 2018, Hong Yang-ho (2nd from right), chief of the Korea Institute of Future, delivers a keynote speech during a Seoul forum on the need for the resumption of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. (Yonhap)
Last week, Shin went to Pyongyang together with South Korean business leaders accompanying South Korean President Moon Jae-in for his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on denuclearization and economic cooperation on the Korean peninsula.
North Korean officials like Ri Yong-nam, North Korea's deputy prime minister for economic affairs, said they will place top priority on the resumption of operations at the Kaesong complex and tourism to the Mount Kumkang resort, among others, he said.
Major projects like tours to the scenic mountain were halted in 2008 after a South Korean tourist was shot dead by a North Korean soldier. In 2016, the Kaesong complex was shut down due to the North's repeated missile and nuclear tests.
"If inter-Korean economic ties kick off again, there should be a guarantee that South Korean companies can continue to do business in the North without being interrupted by political issues," Shin said. (Yonhap)