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Cheong Wa Dae says restart of Kaesong complex impossible under int'l sanctions

All News 11:19 October 25, 2018

SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea currently has no plans to reopen a joint industrial complex in North Korea's border town of Kaesong, officials from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Thursday.

The resumption of the Kaesong complex would be impossible unless international sanctions against the North are first removed, they added.

The remarks came in response to reports that Pyongyang has decided to retract its decision to freeze or confiscate South Korean assets in the Kaesong Industrial Complex and the South Korean-developed resort and facilities on Mount Kumgang.

"It is not true," a Cheong Wa Dae official said while speaking on condition of anonymity. He also dismissed reports that Seoul plans to reopen the Kaesong complex in the near future.

The joint industrial park was shut down in early 2016, when Seoul's former Park Geun-hye administration pulled out all South Korean businesses and their workers as part of its unilateral sanctions against the communist state.

At its peak, the joint complex housed more than 120 South Korean companies employing some 50,000 North Korean workers.

Inter-Korean relations improved rapidly over the past six months following President Moon Jae-in's historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in April. The leaders of the divided Koreas met again in May and September.

Moon has emphasized a need to consider removing international sanctions against North Korea when and if the North's denuclearization process reaches a "point of no return," insisting that it will help further motivate the impoverished North and thus accelerate the denuclearization process.

Already, South Korea is making preparations for its economic cooperation with North Korea. Still, Seoul says it will not provide any assistance to the North against international sanctions.

"The reality is that we may not resume (the Kaesong complex) unless the issue of international sanctions against the North is first removed," Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom told reporters.


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