[EDITORIALS]Unjustified interferenceMaking an issue out of the recent reshuffle of Chief Executive Kim Yoon-kyu of Hyundai Asan Corp, a company that is in charge of tours to the North’s Mount Kumgang, Pyongyang has asked South Korea to reduce the number of its tourists to Mount Kumgang to 600 people per day. Despite the loss of a major source of dollar income and a reduction in the scope of its Mount Kumgang project, this action can be viewed as an attempt by the North to bend the South to its own interest. This is the same as an official threat to the South that if it wants to do business with the North it needs to put someone in charge who is to the North’s liking.
For North Korea, where personal connections are more important than the system, the removal of Mr. Kim may have resulted in confusion. Nevertheless, one has to ask whether the issue justifies the action of breaking the principles and process for Mount Kumgang tourism. If the North makes an issue of the personnel matter of a private company and reduces the scope of the Mount Kumgang tour without any consultation, with what sort of trust can we do business with North Korea?
The attitude shown by the North shows that there is no consideration for its partner. If the North continues in this fashion there won’t be a bright future for the broadening economic cooperation between the two countries. If they scrap a contract like this, nothing can be promoted. And this absurdity will persist if we accept it.
In a capitalist society, personnel appointments are a managerial right. If external forces attempt to meddle in this, it becomes a severe threat to the managerial right and can shake the very roots of a capitalist economy. If the company and the South’s government do not stand up to this kind of unjustified interference from the North there is no saying what might be next.
The North’s action this time might not be just out of dissatisfaction with Hyundai Asan’s personnel matters, but also a move to gain the upper hand in negotiations with the company regarding the scheduled Kaesong tours. It might also be trying to break in Hyundai Chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun to their taste. Nevertheless, the method, timing and purpose of the North’s action are all wrong. The North needs to stop meddling in the internal affairs of a private company and should apologize to Hyundai Asan and South Korean tourists who are losing out due to this measure.