[Letters] Don’t forget why we work in KaesongThe recent provocation by North Korea, blocking the passage of South Koreans to and from the Kaesong Industial Complex, shocked and disappointed me. With regard to this situation, the editorial “Our Kaesong dilemma”[March 17] concluded that Pyongyang has “little interest in [the complex’s] success” and may give up the project “at any time.” Despite this, however, I believe it is hasty to conclude that the North is uninterested in the operation of the Kaesong complex.
Without a doubt, Pyongyang’s foremost concern is a guarantee of its survival. Taking this fundamental factor into consideration, it is predictable that anything that threatens its survival shall be eliminated. It seems they found economic interdependence with South Korea a threat at this moment. But as long as the North Korean regime feels safe, I believe there is a common purpose for the Kaesong Industrial Complex: the reunification of Korea. To accomplish this ultimate goal, the Kaesong complex seems to be the most effective and peaceful approach, building confidence between the two countries through intensive economic exchange.
The editorial also asserts that South Korea does not want to be “dragged along by the North,” and that we should reconsider whether the Kaesong complex should remain.
This is not the right time to jostle for the upper hand. We have to collaborate and find ways to overcome the problems we are faced with. We must more actively communicate with the North and compromise in ways that both countries can be satisfied with. Since the North is in the more desperate condition, we should be able to behave in a more generous manner. I know it will be difficult, but this stage is necessary for the later success of peaceful reunification. We should think and act for a long-term goal. Therefore, we have a responsibility to maintain the complex and a favorable relationship with the North i.
All the initiatives promoting exchange between the South and North, such as reunions of separated families, the Mount Kumgang tours and the Kaesong Industrial Complex, have as their underlying purpose the goal of unification. Hence, we should know there are obstacles as well. It would be silly if we did not expect challenges. The time is now. We should think back to the number one goal we established long ago and pursue it. Let’s look beyond, not settle.
Lee Ye-eun, student,
Ewha Womans University High School