DPRK seeks to “renegotiate” Kaesong contracts

According to Yonhap (excerpts):

The two Koreas met Tuesday for their first government-level talks in more than a year, during which the North demanded negotiations begin on operational changes at the joint complex in its border town of Kaesong. Pyongyang said it will reconsider all “special benefits” that have been granted to South Korean firms, such as low wages for North Korean employees and free land use.

The proposed measure, if actualized, is expected to deal a serious blow to more than 100 South Korean firms in Kaesong, mostly small manufacturers producing garments, utensils, watches and other labor-intensive products and already struggling to survive the global economic downturn.

Under a contract signed between Hyundai and the North Korean government in 2000, South Korean firms pay their North Korean employees between US$70-$80 on average a month, but the wages are wired directly to North Korean government bank accounts. The annual wages last year amounted to $26 million, according to ministry data. About 39,000 cheap but skilled North Korean workers are employed there.

North Korea also said it will begin charging land fees starting next year. North Korea initially set a 10-year grace period on rent when the complex opened, allowing the South Korean firms to use its land in Kaesong for free until 2014.

The [South Korean Unification] minister criticized North Korea’s prolonged detention of a South Korean worker as “against justice.” Pyongyang officials did not answer questions about the Hyundai Asan employee during Tuesday’s talks, he said.

The inter-Korean talks opened after a half-day delay due to procedural disputes but lasted only 22 minutes, during which the two sides exchanged documents laying out their demands and positions.

Read the full story here:
S. Korea reviewing N. Korea’s call to revise industrial contracts: minister


3 Responses to “DPRK seeks to “renegotiate” Kaesong contracts”

  1. Cordelia says:

    Kaesong is already struggling with it’s general profitability and the politically unstable situation. Add addtitional land fees to this and they might be sealing the coffin??

  2. james says:

    beggars are trying to be choosers in this one. pathetic.