2016: Reverse decision to close Kaesong

Peace Network Korea
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NGO Joint Statement against the Closure of Kaesong Industrial Complex

Reverse decision to close Kaesong Industrial Complex!

On February 10, the South Korean government announced that it will halt the Kaesong industrial complex completely due to the North's nuclear and missile development. However, we call for the reversal of the decision immediately, as closing Kaesong industrial complex is not only inappropriate but also harming the South.

First of all, South Korea's decision to close the Kaesong Industrial Complex is violating the agreement between the two Koreas in 2013, where they agreed to guarantee the normal operation of the complex to not be affected by inter-Korean situations under any circumstances. Furthermore, the decision can be considered as a unilateral violation of the agreement on economic cooperation between the two Koreas, which is a de facto treaty in terms of international law.

The government argues that the salaries paid for the North Korean workers in Kaesong complex, which in total amounts to 120 billion won, is being funneled into nuclear development and missiles. However, it is the North Korean workers who benefit from the salaries, as most of the salaries are returned to them in the form of social & cultural policy fee providing free education and medical services and vouchers for goods.

Because of the recent decision, around 120 South Korean companies are on the verge of being snuffed out again, like in 2013. South Korean government says it will provide the companies with financial support and an alternative site - but no site can replace the Kaesong industrial complex. Also, about 54,000 North Korean workers and their families will have a hard time making their living. We can't help but be angry as South Korean government is being ignorant about hardships South Korean medium and small enterprises and North Korean workers will have to go through. Also, these people are not related to North Korea's nuclear experiment or firing of the long range rockets. South Korean government's obsession with “teaching North Korea a lesson” is making innocent civilians suffer.

In that, we strongly urge the South Korean government to immediately stop its measures to shut down Kaesong industrial complex. This is not a time to cut off is relation with North but seek opportunities to talk and negotiate after going through a cooling phase would be wise.

In addition, tougher sanctions against North Korea to solve the North Korean nuclear crisis and the missile issues haven’t been effective for about 20 years. It is becoming more obvious that imposing more sanctions won't guarantee any result. Now is the time for the South Korean government to actively pursue negotiation with North Korea for denuclearization and peace system on the Korean peninsula, instead of repeatedly imposing sanctions which have failed. The South Korean government leading one-sided hostile policy and strong sanctions with extreme abomination will be only a self-harming strategy that enhances the new Cold War system in the East Asia and sacrificing the Korean Peninsula as an offering for the altar of the Cold War.  

We urge the South Korean government to immediately reverse its decision to halt the operation of Kaesong Industrial Complex!

February 11, 2016

Signed by:
Civil Society Organizations Network in Korea, Korea Women's Association United, Korea Federation of Environmental Movements, National Council of the Young Men's Christian Associations of Korea, Jeonnam Civil Society Organizations Network, Young Korean Academy, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, Korea Women's Environmental Network, Citizens Coalition for Democratic Media, Citizen’s Movement for Environmental Justice, Eco Horizon Institute, The Research Institute of the Differently Abled Person’s Right in Korea, Korea Network for Green Transport, Transparency International Korea, Green Korea, Cultural Action, Korea Youth Corps, Gyeonggi Civil Society Organizations Network, Gyeongnam Civil Society Organizations Network, Daejeon Civil Society Organizations Network, Jeonnam Civil Society Organizations Network, Jeonbuk Civil Society Organizations Network, Chungnam Civil Society Organization Network, Chungbuk Civil Society Organization Network, Gyeonggi Women's Association United, Gyeongnam Women’s Association United, , Daegu Gyeongbuk Women’s Association United, Daejeon Women’s Association United, Busan Women’s Association United, Jeonbuk Women’s Association United, Gyeongnam Women’s Association, Gwangju Jonnam Women’s Association United, Korea Association of Christian Women for Women Minjung, Daegu Women’s Association ,Daejeon Women’s Association for Democracy, Busan Counseling Center  Against Sexual Violence, Pusan Women Education Center, Korean Catholic Women's Community for a New World, Saewoom-tuh, National Solidarity against Sexual Exploitation of Women, Suwon Women's Association, Social Education Center for Women ,Korea Women's Political Solidarity, Ulsan Women’s Association, Jeju Women's Association, Jeju Association for Women's Rights, Women Making Peace, Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center ,Korea Women Workers Association, Korea Women Link, Korea Women's Studies Institute, Korea Women's Hot Line, Korean Differently Abled Women United, Korean Association of Women Theologians, Women Migrants Human Rights Center of Korea, Housewife meeting together, National Parents Association for True Education. ,Korean Single Parents’ League, Cheonan Women’s Association, Korean Network of Gender Budgeting ,One Corea Action, Peace Network, Unification Tree, Citizen's Solidarity for Peace & Unification, Daegu, Peace Ground, Korean Sharing Movement, Peace 3000,Civil Peace Forum, Goyang Peace Nuri

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