Can North Korea cripple the South’s economy — without firing a single shot?

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Nearly a decade ago, the two Koreas came together to agree on a jointly-run special manufacturing zone that sits a few kilometers inside North Korea — the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

This state-level “joint venture” if you will, has become an important fixture in the economies of both Koreas.  According to the Wall Street Journal, over 120 companies employ over 50,000 North Korean citizens to work in their industrial and manufacturing plans.

The brainchild of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and North Korea’s recently-departed Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il, the two came together in 2000 to work the plan out for it’s implementation — and it opened for business in 2004.

English: Area map of Kaesong Industrial Region...

Kaesong Industrial Region, North Korea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the last North-South line of communication “cut” according to the North Korean military, could the complex that employs tens of thousands of North Koreans, pumping much needed capital into the isolated Stalinist-state; and provides massive amounts of product to South Korea — could this cripple the South Korean economy?

As of this week, traffic in and out of Kaesong is status-quo.  It’s business as usual.

North Korea’s nascent Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Un has threatened to close the industrial complex, threatening economic input for South Korea.  Is the North willing to put desperately needed cash at risk to send a message to the South — or is this the usual dose of saber-rattling rhetoric meant to cement the new “Dear Leader” in the hearts of his people?

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