Kaesong Updates

The North Korean workers who were previously dispersed from Kaesong are being told to prepare to go back to work … provided that the necessary gratuities are paid, of course. Aidan Foster-Carter asks a very sensible question in a commentary at Korea Real Time: “What foreign firm in their (sic) right mind would consider investing in Kaesong?” This Joongang Ilbo report bolsters his skepticism:

The ministry in charge of inter-Korean relations said that in order to attract investments from outside Korea to the park, a subcommittee for its global competitiveness will host an investment briefing session next month for foreign companies stationed in the South.

“Some [foreign] companies expressed interest in the Kaesong complex but were also hesitant to make investments because of risk concerns and the fact that the Internet was not available there,” said Kim Ki-woong during a press briefing yesterday at the Unification Ministry.

Kaesong has nothing that an investor couldn’t find in the Philippines, Malaysia, or China, but it does have a lot of political risk and limitations of infrastructure that those places don’t have. In any event, as long as the two sides are still talking, there’s always hope that talks can fail.