In 2003, the governments of North and South Korea agreed to establish the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a manufacturing zone located just over the North Korean border. The South Korean conglomerates Hyundai and the Korea Land Corporation run the facilities, where more than 100 other smaller South Korean companies have also set up shop. The area was ostensibly launched to promote “cooperation” between the two Koreas, though in reality it’s become little more than a source of much-needed cash for the North Korean regime.
Some 53,000 North Korean laborers toil in factories there, and the lions’ share of their $80 million in annual wages goes directly into Kim Jong-un’s pockets. (About a thousand South Koreans work at the complex, all in managerial positions.) “Cooperation” hasn’t been particularly evidenced either – in the decade since the complex opened, the North Korean government has conducted three nuclear tests, shelled a South Korean island, sunk a South Korean naval vessel, and threatened repeatedly to turn Seoul into a “sea of fire.”
Now, in the latest of his provocative actions, Kim Jong-un has closed access to the complex, reports the Washington Post. Without the South Korean workers and capital, the factories will soon grind to a halt. This is a classic case of cutting off a nose to spite one's face: it’s the North Korean regime that will suffer by foregoing the influx of South Korean cash. So . . . this is a bit of petulance worth celebrating.
Hopefully next time, Kim Jong-un will “spite” the South Koreans by shutting down his nuclear weapons program. That’ll show them!