FACTBOX: South Korea’s industrial park in the North

Reuters (Hat tip to DPRK Studies)

The park is located in the North Korean border city of Kaesong about 70 km (45 miles) – (Reuters) – The Kaesong industrial complex in North Korea is set to grow by leaps and bounds in the next few years despite political problems in the wake of the communist state’s nuclear test last year, a South Korean executive said.

Here are some key facts about the Kaesong Industrial District:


The park is located in the North Korean border city of Kaesong about 70 km (45 miles) northwest of Seoul. A brand new highway runs through the Demilitarized Zone border taking workers from the South and finished products from the North.

Kaesong is the first cooperative manufacturing venture where South Korean firms use North Korean labour. It is run by Hyundai Asan, part of the Hyundai group, along with Korea Land Corp.


As of May 21, more than 14,000 North Koreans were employed at 23 South Korean factories producing items such as textiles, watches and cosmetic cases.

The minimum monthly wage is $50 for each employee as well as $7.50 for social insurance. The wages are paid to the North Korean state and not directly to workers.


In May 2006 Jay Lefkowitz, the top U.S. official for human rights in North Korea, raised concerns about possible worker exploitation at the complex. Lefkowitz said the well-intentioned project may simply end up providing funds that prop up the North Korean regime. South Korea rejects the criticism as biased.


South Korea and the United States agreed to set up a joint committee to study allowing Kaesong products duty-free status in the U.S. market under a free trade deal struck in April. South Korea says future projects in the North will be entitled to the same privilege. Washington is less enthusiastic.


South Korea’s vision for the Kaesong project, which began in June 2003 with first batch of goods shipped to South Korea in 2004, includes more than half a million North Koreans employed by 2,000 firms and with hotels, golf courses and a “peace park”.


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