Ryoo Sent to Reaffirm South Korean Goals

Cho Jong Ik  |  2013-04-11 19:53
Minister of Unification Ryoo Khil Je has urged North Korea to engage in dialogue over the fate of the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), whose operations have been frozen since April 8th, stating today, “The normalization of the KIC must be brought about through dialogue. We hope that the North Korean side will come to the negotiating table, even if only for discussion of the issues that they want to raise.”

He continued, “The temporary suspension of the KIC, which is a symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, will not help any of the issues regarding the future of the people,” emphasizing, “The suspension of the KIC is giving serious pain to the South Korean companies and the workers in the KIC; there must be responsible North Korean measures for this.”

At the same time, regarding the current North Korean missile threat, Ryoo commented, “We find it highly regrettable,” and urged North Korea not to raise tensions on the peninsula any further. “We hope that North Korea will stop all activities that threaten the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia, and act as a member of the international community,” he noted.

According to Ministry of Unification officials, the purpose behind Ryoo’s statement was to convey South Korea’s strong commitment to the KIC and to ensure that North Korea recognizes how seriously the current situation is taken in Seoul. One such official underscored, “This statement put forward a process of dialogue with North Korea. Not dialogue for its own sake, but if North Korea suggests a dialogue to solve these problems then we have no reason to decline.”

In addition, having Minister Ryoo make the statement can be seen as an attempt to calibrate South Korea’s response to the KIC closure to the process that occurred in the North. Pyongyang initially sent Chosun Workers’ Party Secretary Kim Yang Gon, an official who is responsible for inter-Korean relations, to the KIC in order to start the process of temporary closure.
 
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2014.03.24
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