[EDITORIALS]Nuclear issue boils in the potThe first manufactured goods from the Gaeseong Industrial Complex were produced yesterday. Despite the dire situation surrounding the Korean peninsula due to the nuclear crisis in the North, the Gaeseong Complex has now become a new symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation with the production of goods there.
Even though the first products were 1,000 sets of pots, the fact that the goods produced in Gaeseong were sold in a department store in Seoul on the same day signals that if North and South Korea cooperate, it will open an era of “one-day economic cooperation.” It symbolically shows that this is an opportunity for coexistence.
Like the Mount Geumgang Tourism project, which has now stabilized, the Gaeseong Industrial Complex has made a successful start, and even though unification appears a long way off, it will be a chance for people in North and South Korea to increase their understanding of the need for unification and will become a catalyst for change.
We shouldn’t indulge in the excitement and delight that the first goods were produced in Gaeseong and let them get in the way of what needs to be done. The future of the Gaeseong project, or the various kinds of inter-Korean cooperation that will occur, may not be as smooth as one may expect.
In the microscopic sense, there are files of pending issues that occurred in the course of developing the industrial complex, including how the the project expenses will be procured. Other issues that need to be overcome include simplifying passage procedures for South Korean businessmen and technicians, the communications issue and the ills of bureaucracy in North Korea.
Also, the government needs to figure out, with the help of the international community, how to improve export procedures and secure markets for goods, and deal with restrictions on sending strategic goods to North Korea.
In the macroscopic sense, if there is no progress made on the nuclear issue in North Korea, it is worrisome how we can link this with economic cooperation with the North.
The government must let the North know the importance of solving the nuclear issue. In this respect, cooperation and trust with Washington is essential. In the era of inter-Korean cooperation, the South Korea-U.S. alliance must get even more solid. Inter-Korean relations can flourish when supported by a strong alliance.