Perry Praises Kaesong Complex

Korea Times

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William James Perry on Thursday called an inter-Korean industrial complex in Kaesong, North Korea, as the “future of the Korean Peninsula.’’

He made the remarks after a half-day visit to the joint venture.

Perry described the Kaesong complex as a very positive and impressive project to promote peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, an official of the Ministry of Unification who accompanied Perry on the visit, said.

He also praised North Korean officials, calling them “frontiersmen,’’ the official said.

He led a five-member delegation including Stephen Warren Bosworth, former U.S. ambassador to Seoul, Kim Jeong-hun, a Korean-American businessman, and Ashton Baldwin Carter, a professor at Harvard University.

The American delegation was briefed by Kim Dong-keun, the president of the complex’s management committee, and it looked around two factories, including that of clothing manufacturer ShinWon.

During their four-day visit to Seoul, which ended Thursday, they met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Song Min-soon and leading presidential hopefuls including former Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak. The presidential poll is slated for Dec. 19.

The South Korean government plans to resume the expansion of the Kaesong site no later than mid-April.

Last Tuesday, the ministry said it plans to parcel out a 530,000-pyong lot for South Korean manufacturers. One pyong equals 3.3 square meters.

The land is the remainder of a lot of 1 million pyong that the two Koreas have been jointly developing since the first phase of the inter-Korean project. Under the project, a 20 million-pyong industrial base will be built for South Korean companies by 2012.

When fully expanded by 2012, the complex is expected to house about 2,000 South Korean manufacturers employing about half a million North Koreans, according to the ministry.

The industrial complex is one of two major cross-border projects South Korea has kept afloat despite the chilly inter-Korean relations. The two Koreas are also running a joint tourism project at Mount Kumgang in the communist North.


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