Financial sector antes up $637M for Kaesong relief
According to financial sources yesterday, the Financial Services Commission and Financial Supervisory Service have asked commercial banks, savings banks, insurance firms and card companies to help firms that withdrew from Kaesong by injecting emergency funds and extending the maturity periods of loans they hold.
South-North relations soured severely after Pyongyang’s missile launch and nuclear test last year, and tensions peaked with the near shutdown of the Kaesong complex. On April 9, North Korea pulled out its 53,000 workers at South Korean companies operating in Kaesong and blocked food and other materials from entering the industrial zone. The South Korean government then pulled out its workers, mainly worried about their safety and security after announcing it would close the complex.
“We have requested financial institutions to provide funds to firms and also extend loan maturity dates,” said an official from the Financial Supervisory Service. Woori Bank and the Industrial Bank of Korea will each provide 100 billion won, while the Export-Import Bank of Korea will give up to 300 billion won and others 200 billion won.
Companies that opened businesses in Kaesong, meanwhile, have complained over the past month or so since their factories were halted that though financial support by the government and institutions is helpful, the best option would be to have the government negotiate with North Korean officials and resume operations at the complex.
On Wednesday, the government also decided to provide 300 billion won to companies in Kaesong from the policy fund.
By Lee Eun-joo [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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