May 07, 2013 09:37
South Korea will keep supplying a minimal amount of electricity to the joint-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex north of the border although all South Korean firms have left, the government said Monday.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-seok told reporters, "We're providing a minimum amount of power for lighting and a water treatment facility." About 3,000 kW of power, about 1/10 of the normal amount, is still being supplied.
In a report to the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae said, "Since April 27, we've been supplying electricity [to Kaesong] through distribution rather than transmission lines."
Seoul switched power supply systems from transmission to distribution on April 27, when the evacuation of South Korean staffers from Kaesong began.
Transmission allows it to supply up to 100,000 kW to Kaesong via high-voltage lines and a local substation in Kaesong. But the distribution system only provides a maximum 20,000 kW via normal utility poles.
A ministry official said there is little demand for power now the 123 manufacturers have stopped operations.
"We've reduced the supply because the demand has decreased," he added. "That's only natural. What's important is not that the power supply fell but that we're still providing electricity to Kaesong."
Ryoo said the government has not yet decided whether to cut electricity and water supplies completely.
The prevailing view is that Seoul has decided to keep rump facilities going for the time being to prevent the North from blaming the South if the industrial park is unable to operate normally. North Korean officials reportedly expressed concern that facilities would become derelict without power and water.
A former ministry official said Seoul evidently still has hope of reviving the project.
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