A South Korean official in charge of promoting investments in North Korea's Kaesong Industrial Complex said Friday that the reopening of the now-suspended industrial park in the North's border town will be a first step towards resuming inter-Korean economic cooperation.
Addressing a unification symposium in Seoul, Kim Jin-hyang, chairman of the Kaesong Industrial District Foundation, said the operation of the Kaesong complex has to be restarted as quickly as possible.
"Inter-Korean economic cooperation cannot be discussed without the Kaesong Industrial Complex," said Kim, who doubles as chief of the Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee.
The government of former President Park Geun-hye abruptly announced the closure of the Kaesong park on Feb. 10, 2016, in retaliation for the North's fourth nuclear weapons test and long-range missile launch.
Kim dismissed the abrupt closure of the complex as a "completely failed policy," saying, "The decision was a grave disaster that shut down peace, economy and security altogether. North Korea was never dealt a blow when the Kaesong park was closed."
"The Kaesong complex was not a special favor to the North. It was intended to support the South Korean economy stuck in a low-growth trap," he said.
Kim noted that the Kaesong park is also very symbolic in terms of security and peace, arguing that the mix of about 60,000 South and North Korean workers in a single location can deter tensions and guarantee peace.
He stressed that South Korea should now join Singapore, Russia and China in preparing for large-scale investments in North Korea following its successive summit talks with the United States and South Korea to enhance the peace mood on the Korean Peninsula. (Yonhap)