ROK Government’s explanation on
the 6th Inter-Korean working-level talks on Gaeseong Industrial Complex
- On July 25, 2013, South and North Korea held the 6th Inter-Korean working-level talks and resumed the negotiation on how to settle the key issue of preventing the recurrence of the unilateral suspension of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex (GIC). However, South and North Korea could not make any progress at the talks because North Korea adhered to its existing position.
- North Korea proposed a new clause, which states that “North Korea will not unilaterally prohibit the entry of South Korean workers to the GIC or withdraw North Korean workers only if South Korea promises not to use inappropriate political rhetoric and pledges not to pose military threats against North Korea.” The ROK government decided that it was impossible to continue the negotiation with North Korea’s newly proposed clause and suggested to pick a date for the next round of talks.
- In response, North Korea called our suggestion a ‘collapse of talks’ by saying that it will only reschedule the next meeting through the Panmunjom channel if the ROK government withdraws from its position and if the South and North reach an agreement on North Korea’s recurrence prevention measures.
- The ROK government reiterated the importance of preventing the recurrence of unilateral suspension of the GIC, explained our position and suggested to contact the South through the Panmunjom channel if they make any progress in their decision.
- Over the last six rounds of inter-Korean talks, the ROK government has been persistently emphasizing that North Korea must adopt a recurrence prevention policy and show its commitment to internationalizing the GIC, if the North wishes to resolve the pending issues.
- The ROK government demanded the North not to take arbitrary measures like unilaterally prohibiting entry of workers and withdrawing workers from the GIC.
- The ROK government highlighted that the GIC resumption is not a simple restoration of the old system, but that it must achieve the ‘advanced level of normalization’ in accordance with the international standards based on its recurrence prevention policy. In addition, we suggested ways to establish a legal and systematic framework for the GIC.
- North Korea, however, turned away from our demand for North Korea’s recurrence prevention policy and only paid attention to promoting their existing stance on the early resumption of the GIC.
- North Korea argued that South Korea media’s statements that the GIC is North Korea’s source of living was the root cause of the GIC suspension and that South Korea must take responsible measures for the suspension of the GIC.
- North Korea added that the GIC can be suspended again if the similar situation emerges.
*Different positions on North Korea’s Recurrence Prevention Policy
South and North Korea both recognize that the suspension of the GIC must not repeat again. North Korea must guarantee that it will not take unilateral measures that discourage the normal operation of the GIC like prohibiting entry and withdrawing workers under any circumstance. In addition, North Korea must waiver taxes and other charges for a certain period of time once the GIC resumes so they can recover from the financial losses caused by the GIC suspension. With regards to the details and procedures, South and North Korea should discuss the matters at the Joint Committee of the GIC as written in Article 4.
North and South Korea both recognized that the suspension of the GIC should not repeat and guarantee the normal operation of the GIC regardless of the state of affairs and do not take actions that discourage the GIC operation. In pursuit of this purpose, South Korea must guarantee that it will not use inappropriate political rhetoric and pose military threats against North Korea. North Korea will not take actions like withdrawing workers as long as South Korea keeps its promises stated above.
- North Korea condemned the ROK government, arguing that it is delaying the progress of talks and creating a dead-end. North Korea argued that South Korea’s demand for North Korea’s recurrence prevention measures and South Korea’s commitment to achieving the “advanced level of normalization” lack sincerity, hindering the process of the working-level talks on the GIC.
- Preventing the recurrence of the suspension of the GIC is the key to the “advanced level of normalization” of the GIC. Even a slight chance of suspension will hamper the normalization of the GIC.
- The ROK government is regretful that we could not make any progress and achieve the “advanced level of normalization” according to the wishes of the citizens, especially the GIC companies.
- The ROK government will continue to resolve the pending issues on the GIC.
- If North Korea has a will to normalize the GIC operation, North Korea must accept our position.