April 18, 2013 09:52
North Korea experts say it is high time to evacuate some 200 South Korean staff who remain at the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex. The North on Wednesday refused to let in supplies of food and other necessities for the South Koreans.
Kim Hee-sang of the Korea Institute for National Security Affairs said, "It may be impossible for North Korea to seal off the complex completely, but it can really harass South Korean workers there." He urged the government to evacuate the South Koreans there or risk them being taken hostage.
Kim said evacuating the remaining staff could lead to a quicker resolution to the crisis by showing the North that Seoul is not afraid to shut down the industrial park if necessary.
"Kim Jong-un's aunt Kim Kyong-hui once headed the light industry department of the Workers Party, and some believe that the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which was under her control, has been caught up in a power struggle," he added.
Kim Young-ho at Sungshin Women's University said, "North Korea makes only US$100 million a year exporting weapons. It needs the $90 million in cash the complex generates each year and can't afford to shut it down."
But Kim added Seoul must not let the current crisis drag on. "The government must ask North Korea again to allow the entry of food and other supplies, and if that fails the remaining staff have to be evacuated."
He added that previously unaddressed issues such as better access and communication have to be resolved applying international business standards.
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