Thursday, December 22, 2005
[photo: Thanks go the North-South Joint Industrial Complex, Kaesŏng leads the nation in dug-up dirt and stacked slabs of concrete.]
The Donga Ilbo has a decent piece talking about the problems facing the prospects of the Kaesŏng (yeah, that's how it should be spelled, not Gaeseong. Kaesong, without the funky ŏ, is also acceptable).
Unification Minister Chung Dong-young would like to see it succeed, some of his opponents would like to see it fail just for that reason. Some Korean politicos see it as a chance to foster ties with the North to offset Pyongyang's lingering military threat and Beijing's possible designs on annexing "Inner Chosŏn," a la Inner Mongolia. South Korean businesses see it as a chance to compete with China with their own source of cheap labor.
[photo: At the 2003 groundbreaking of the industrial complex, the pretty colored smoke led some to suggest that an early reunification and a delayed move of Yongsan Garrison south to Pyongtaek would make this the site of a future US military base.]
But the places is fraught with problems, including North Korean laborers just not used to the demands of working for capitalists. 100,000 workers by next year? It may be a pipe dream.
Plus, can North Korea really afford to have that many of its people tainted by exposure to South Koreans (however few of them there are in Kaesŏng) on a daily basis?