Koreas building trade ties
Kaesong, February 27:
Officials from the divided Koreas today showed off a joint industrial zone, a key project they hope to dramatically expand in coming years in a sign of faith that relations between the two states are moving further toward reconciliation.
“We will bring peace and prosperity to the Korean Peninsula through the Kaesong Industrial Complex,” Kim Hyo-jeong, a North Korean official serving on the Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee, said. It marked the first time that non-South Korean reporters from foreign news organisations were allowed to visit the facility, one of the key fruits of a budding detente between the two Cold War rivals.
The communist North and capitalist South have been politically divided since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce instead of a peace treaty, leaving them technically at war. Tensions have eased considerably in recent years, however, particularly after a historic summit between North Korea leader Kim Jong Il and then South Korean President Kim Dae-jung in 2000 fostered increased exchanges and more business deals.
Construction on the Kaesong complex began in 2003, three years after the summit, and it began operating the following year. So far, a total of 15 South Korean companies have set up shop here.
Current account surplus dips
SEOUL: South Korea’s current account surplus shrank sharply in January, partly due to slowing exports amid the annual Lunar New Year holidays.
The current account surplus stood at $136.3 million in January, down from $541.6 million a month earlier. The trade surplus fell to $1.5 billion in January from $1.8 billion a month earlier.
The trade surplus shrank because export growth slowed sharply due to the New Year holidays while imports grew sharply. — AFP