North Korea uses South Korean facilities at Kaesong complex without permission

View of the Kaesong Industrial Complex from the Dora Observatory located near the Paju Demilitarized Zone. (File Photo – US Department of Defense)

North Korea appears to have operated South Korean facilities at the Kaesong industrial complex without permission, South Korea’s Unification Ministry said on Tuesday.

The Unification Ministry has found indications that North Korean authorities operated factories built and owned by South Korean companies in the Inter-Korean Industrial Park in North Korea, an official — who wished to remain anonymous — in a closed-door interview. Report.

“We have recently detected related signs, including the movement of North Korean vehicles and supplies piled up in the industrial complex, through various channels,” the official said, without further details.

The Unification Ministry has observed unidentified vehicles moving through the Kaesong Industrial Complex several times since April, when a fire was detected in the area.

“Therefore, North Korea appears to have operated some of our factories in the Kaesong Industrial Complex when we reconstruct the situation,” the official explained.

The Unification Ministry is also seeing North Korean workers making items in South Korean factories located in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, according to the official.

The South Korean government said South Korean companies owned the factories, machinery and equipment left behind in the industrial park jointly operated by the two Koreas.

Park Geun-hye’s government suspended operation of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in February 2016 in response to North Korea’s nuclear tests and the test launch of the Kwangmyongsong-4 satellite. At that time, the government said that the majority of the wage income of North Korean workers at the Kaesong Industrial Complex was funneled to the North Korean regime.

The Unification Ministry’s confirmation came a day after its spokesman Cho Joong-hoon publicly condemned North Korea for violating the property rights of the South Korean people, including the unauthorized use of shuttles. , during a regular press briefing.

For example, a commuter bus – believed to have been produced by South Korean company Hyundai and used to transport North Korean workers to and from the Kaesong industrial complex – was seen in service in the city of Kaesong in the footage. video broadcast on July 3 by the state-run Korean Central Television.

North Korea has also demolished facilities built by South Korea in the resort town of Mount Kumgang since last March without prior consultation with the South Korean government.

“The government continues to closely monitor North Korea’s actions to demolish or use our Mount Kumgang and Kaesong Industrial Complex facilities without permission,” Cho said Monday.

“North Korea’s act clearly violates the inter-Korean agreement, and we express our regret at the illegal violation of our property rights. North Korea must immediately end this act, and we make it clear that all responsibility lies with North Korea.”

The two Koreas agree not to nationalize or expropriate each other’s investment assets and impose restrictions on property rights in the Inter-Korean Investment Protection Agreement signed in December 2000.

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