ROK Government Planning to Resume Construction of Factories and Relax Sanctions for Kaesong Industrial Complex

A convenience store in Kaesong Industrial Regi...

Convenience store in Kaesong Industrial Park

[The following article is NK Brief No 11-10-20, taken from IFES Weekly News (10/26). The Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES) is a research arm of Kyungnam University in Seoul, founded during the height of the Cold War (1972) to promote peace and the unification of Korea. –CanKor]

According to South Korea’s Ministry of Unification (MOU), the “May 24 Sanctions” that went into effect after the sinking of the naval boat Cheonan was relaxed and began to permit the resumption of construction of businesses in the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC). In addition, plans to build fire stations and emergency medical facilities in the area are also currently underway.

After South Korean Grand National Party chairman Hong Jun-pyo visited KIC on September 30, 2011, the ROK government has reached the following decisions: 1) to allow the resumption of halted factory constructions; 2) to build a fire station and emergency medical facility; 3) to resume repair work for commuting roads for KIC employees; and 4) to extend the operations of commuter buses.

This means seven companies that received permits in the past to begin construction but stopped after the sanctions went into effect would be able to resume the halted construction projects. Read the rest of this entry »

“Trustpolitik” and “alignment”: Assessing Park Geun-hye’s new approach to North Korea, by Christoph Bluth

Prof. Christoph Bluth

[Dr. Christoph Bluth, Professor of International Studies at the University of Leeds, UK, sent CanKor his commentary on an article published in the journal Foreign Affairs by Park Geun-hye, the frontrunning candidate for South Korea’s ruling Grand National Party in the coming elections. Professor Bluth is author of “Crisis on the Korean Peninsula” published by Potomac Press 2011.–CanKor.]

For a long time Park Geun-hye has been at the forefront of South Korean politics. As she is preparing for the forthcoming presidential election, the frontrunner from the conservative Grand National Party has decided to formally lay out her vision for the future of the Korean peninsula and her plan of how to deal with North Korea in an article published in the September issue of the American journal Foreign Affairs. Her analysis of the situation is stark and she pulls no punches about North Korea’s aggressive behaviour in the past. At the same time she puts forward a bold plan to address the situation by embarking on a process building trust among the states of the Northeast Asian regions, involving slowing the growth of military build-ups and greater economic cooperation.

Coining the new phrase “trustpolitik”, she outlines a new mechanism to bring “Pyongyang into the fold”. Park considers that the efforts to engage North Korea by means of a “sunshine policy” have failed to mitigate North Korea’s aggressive behaviour. By way of an indirect criticism of the incumbent President Lee Myung-bak, she states that the policies of conditional engagement and deterrence have likewise failed to modify North Korea’s “bellicose strategy towards the South” in a meaningful way. Read the rest of this entry »

Commemorating (the demise of) the June 15 Joint Declaration

[This letter was received by CanKor from Pyongyang under the subject line: “11th Anniversary of the June 15 Joint Declaration”. The following DPRK organizations appended their signatures: Korean National Peace Committee, Korean Committee for Solidarity with the World’s People, Asian African People’s Solidarity, Korean Democratic Lawyer’s Association, and Korean Anti War Peace Physicians. –CanKor.]

Arch of Reunification, Pyongyang (Image via Wikipedia)

Dear Friends,

As you know, the Korean people greet the 11th anniversary of the historic June 15 Joint Declaration under the grim situation where confrontation between the reunification champions and the separatists has reached an extreme point.

The inter-Korean summit and the adoption of the June 15 Joint Declaration in June 2000, the first of its kind since the country was divided, were a great event that turned the history of division and confrontation lasting for more than half a century into the history of reconciliation, unity and reunification in the new century. This brought all Koreans and the whole world into great shock, enthusiasm, cheers and admiration.

The June 15 event and consequently the amazing development of the north-south relations showed that there is nothing impossible to do on earth when the Koreans join their hands and that the Korean nation can successfully break the walls of confrontation and division and achieve peace and reunification on its own efforts. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: