Unification Spokesperson’s Statement
August 4, 2013
o The operation of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex(GIC) has been suspended for more than four months after North Korea unilaterally prohibited the entry of our workers to the GIC and withdrew North Korean workers from the GIC. Consequently, our companies are suffering from huge losses.
o A government survey following the suspension of the GIC showed that aside from the 450 billion won worth of investment assets, the business losses of our companies are estimated to reach 300 billion won.
- Furthermore, 60 thousand employees of the tenant companies and subcontract firms affiliated with the GIC are concerned about losing their jobs. The 50 thousand North Korean workers who can no longer work at the GIC would also face great difficulties.
o A more serious problem is that the GIC tenant companies lost credibility of the buyers as they could not supply their products on time. It will be difficult for the companies to find the sales channel even if the GIC resumes operation.
o The government has already spent 13 million dollars’ worth of the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund to pay the unpaid wages and various fees to North Korea on behalf of the tenant companies. Also about 80 billion won was used from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund and Small and Medium-sized Businesses Support Fund to give loans to companies that suffered from losses.
- In addition, the government needs to pay 280 billion won worth of Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund if we were to pay for the economic cooperation insurance payments requested by 109 companies.
- Using the budget, which was allocated for better reasons, such as improving inter-Korean relations and developing small and medium-sized businesses for other purposes will eventually result in our people burdening the losses.
o The government is putting various efforts to minimize the increasing losses that our companies suffer as days go by. However, fundamentally, as the problem has occurred due to the North’s unilateral measures, North Korean authorities must take responsible measures such as compensating the losses of the companies that can convince our people and the tenant companies.
o Once again, we emphasize to our people and the tenant companies that the government’s stance on the need to develop the GIC in accordance with the international standards is firm.
- However, if concerns persist over North Korea suspending operations again at the GIC for political and military issues anytime, companies will not be able to conduct proper business activities even if the GIC resumes operations and will eventually be compelled to leave the GIC.
o Moreover, North Korea must keep in mind that the patience of our people, who want a more sincere attitude from North Korea, is reaching its limit.
o If the North is sincere about relieving the sufferings of our companies and the workers, and truly considers the GIC as a touchstone of the inter-Korean relations, it must demonstrate its commitment with responsible words and actions, not silence.