Park slams N.K. as 'too unpredictable'

2013-04-29 21:15

South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday lashed out at North Korea, calling it "too unpredictable" over its unilateral suspension of a jointly run factory complex, saying there is nothing Pyongyang can achieve unless it becomes responsible about its promises.

Park made the remark during a meeting with two U.S. lawmakers -- Rep. Steve Chabot, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and Rep. Eni Faleomavaega, a Democrat from American Samoa -- calling on the international community to consistently urge Pyongyang to make the right decision.

The remark came after the last-remaining South Koreans have been pulling out of the complex in the North's border city of Gaeseong under a government order. The South's government made the decision after North Korea turned down its offer to resolve the issue through dialogue.

On Saturday, 126 people came back to the South with the remaining 50 workers scheduled to return Monday afternoon, leaving no South Koreans at the complex for the first time since the zone went into operation in late 2004 as a prominent symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation.

"If companies are to make investments and do business activities, agreements should be kept faithfully and (companies) should not be worried under any circumstances. But in a situation where (agreements) evaporate like bubbles overnight, no country, including South Korea, can make investments. This is too unpredictable a place," Park said, according to her spokeswoman Kim Haing.

"How can this happen?," she said, speaking of scenes of South Koreans leaving Gaeseong in cars loaded heavily with products, even on their roofs and hoods. "Unless North Korea shows it is a responsible member of the international community, I think it can't realize economic development or any other things," she said.

Chabot said that he absolutely supports Park's stance on the Gaeseong issue.

During a meeting with senior secretaries earlier in the day, Park said the government should do whatever it can to provide substantial support for South Korean companies and workers suffering from Gaeseong's suspension.

Gaeseong's operations came to a halt earlier this month as North Korea withdrew all of its 53,000 workers from the 123 South Korean factories in the zone. Pyongyang has also barred South Koreans, parts and supplies from entering the complex while allowing only those already there to return to the South.

Gaeseong's suspension was one of a string of steps that Pyongyang has taken in anger over American-involved annual military exercises in the South and a new U.N. sanctions resolution adopted after its third nuclear test in February. (Yonhap News)

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