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Kevin Nam

Rapprochement in the Korean Peninsula

After months of sensitive bickering, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea - commonly known as North and South Korea respectively - have agreed to reopen the Kaesung Industrial Complex on August 13, 2013 since its closure in early April. The Kaesung Complex is the first of its kind in that it fostered cooperation between the two governments often mired in hostility. It is based in Kaesung, North Korea, and has over 53,000 North Korean workers and 123 South Korean companies employing them. It is truly a complex where the South and the North, still technically at war since the ceasefire agreement in 1953, work jointly to produce goods with Southern capital and Northern labour to sell in the international markets. At its conception in 2002, it had been hoped that the Complex will be able to cultivate trust and companionship between the two countries. Not so, as it turned out. In 2008, a North Korean soldier shot dead a South Korean tourist in Geumgang Mountain, which had been a special tourist zone opened to South Korean visitors. The situation constantly worsened with the North's repeated nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, and 2013. The alarmingly chilling point in North-South relations came around March 26, 2010, when a North Korean torpedo sunk the South's Navy warship Cheon-An-Ham, resulting in the death of 46 marines. As if that were not enough, on November 23, 2010 - merely seven months after the sinking of the ship - the North yet again provoked the South by bombarding Yeong-Pyeong Island, causing two fatalities. Closure of Kaesung Industrial Complex was one of North Korea's many provocations that the United States and South Korea claim to be a means of securing greater financial and material aid. But now, the North has indicated that… Read More