Unification Spokesperson’s statement regarding the current status on the Korean Peninsula and the Gaeseong Industrial Complex(GIC)
It is deeply regrettable that North Korea is blaming the R.O.K. government for the suspension of the GIC while disparaging our dialogue proposal and even distorting the related facts.
The suspension of the operations and the deadlock on negotiations regarding the GIC are completely due to North Korea’s irresponsible attitude and behavior.
The entire international community watched the process of the GIC coming to a halt as North Korea continuously made provocative threats, unilaterally cut off communication channels and crossings, and withdrew all North Korean workers from the GIC.
Furthermore, it is deeply deplorable that North Korea launched short-range guided missiles yesterday(5.18) and continues its provocative actions. We urge North Korea to take responsible action towards the R.O.K. government and the international community.
The R.O.K. government in the meantime has made various endeavors to resolve the GIC problem by making three proposals for inter-Korean dialogue (4.11, 4.25, 5.14) as well as offering an informal contact through Inter-Korean Cooperation District Support Directorate(4.24).
However, North Korea turned down all of our sincere proposals.
To ease the grave situation that the GIC tenant companies are encountering, we requested North Korea to solve the problem of taking out the raw materials and finished products to the South from the GIC. North Korea, however, rejected our request stating unjustifiable reasons.
North Korea is claiming that it had stated its stance that it is ready to negotiate on the issue of taking out the raw materials and finished products from the GIC.
However, as we have stated earlier (MOU briefing on May 16th), this offer was made when negotiations were practically impossible as all the communication channels were cut off and the last remaining personnel had already returned to South Korea. Hence, the sincerity of this offer is doubtful.
In fact, despite the fact that North Korea received our request to officially raise the following issue through appropriate communication channels, it did not take necessary measures until the R.O.K. government offered to hold working-level talks on May 14th.
Instead, North Korea is making distorted arguments, suggesting that it had offered a 『specific date』 for the negotiation through the Q&A conducted by North Korea’s spokesperson for the General Bureau for Central Guidance to the Development of the Special Zone issued on May 15th as well as the fax sent to the GIC tenant companies on May 18th. This is far from the truth.
If North Korea truly has the intention to sit down for talks to discuss the taking out of the raw materials and finished products, it should accept the R.O.K. government’s dialogue proposal rather than creating unnecessary controversy that is not grounded on facts.
North Korea should stop its provocative actions including the launch of short-range guided missiles and abide by the international standards on protecting the properties of the GIC tenant companies and allow the companies to take out their raw materials and finished products. We would like to emphasize that this is the starting point for North Korea to become a responsible member of the international community.
North Korea should come out to the dialogue table as soon as possible.