S Korea Eases Restrictions on Kaesong Industrial Park, North Korea
South Korea said Tuesday it would allow South Korean companies to bring new equipment into factories in a jointly run industrial park in North Korea, a move seen as a planned step to break the political deadlock between the two Koreas.
South Korea has banned the establishment of new factories or expanding investment in the industrial complex under economic sanctions slapped on the North in 2010, in response to the North’s torpedoing of its warship Cheonan in the Yellow Sea, which Pyongyang denies.
“Our government will continue to ban the establishment of new factories or expanding investment in the estate,” AFP quoted South Korea’s unification ministry spokeswoman Park Soo-jin as saying.
However, she said the firms would be allowed to replace old facilities starting this week.
Seoul’s decision to ease restrictions on industrial estate reveals the country is seeking to re-engage with Pyongyang, which cut volatile military communication with South Korea after the death of Kim Jong-il, said Lü Chao, director of the Center of North Korean studies of the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences.