ASIA/SOUTH KOREA - The industrial complex of Kaesong closes but the "North-South cooperation is not completely interrupted," notes the Church

Monday, 29 April 2013

Seoul (Agenzia Fides) - South Korea has begun to return home workers engaged in the industrial complex in Kaesong, an area of economic production on the border between the Koreas, the result of cooperation between the governments of North and South Korea. According to observers, it is a negative signal, which could lead to the permanent closure of the complex in Kaesong, the last point of contact between the two Koreas. The production at the joint industrial area, founded in 2004 and located 10 kilometers within the north Korean territory, has been interrupted since the beginning of April and North Korea has already withdrawn its workers.
Fr. Matthias Hur Young-yup, Director for Social Comuncaizioni in the Archdiocese of Seoul, told Fides Agency: "We hope Kaesong always remains an window of open dialogue, although there may be a temporary closure. It must be said that the cooperation with the North goes on in a less official and almost hidden to the public. It is sufficient to say that, in this tense atmosphere, the government of Pyongyang has authorized a humanitarian trip to Fr. Gerard Hammond, a member of Caritas Korea (see Fides 12/04/2013). The paths for dialogue are not closed, hope remains alive. And, if I look at the South Korean citizenship, I see no particular alarms or fears. As people of South Korea and as a Church we reiterate a deep desire for peace. "
The tension on the Korean peninsula has grown following the threats of nuclear war, and has led to a series of diplomatic efforts that seek to resolve the crisis. The two Koreas remain technically at war after the Korean War (1950-1953) which ended with an armistice rather than a peace treaty. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 29/04/2013)