Seoul’s hard-line position leading to collapse of intra-Korean relations
The KNCCK has set up an emergency committee to try to get the government to change its position because the lives of many people in the North depend on aid from the South.
Of the 345 people who applied to visit North Korea, only 62 were actually granted a permit. Concurrently, fertiliser, medical equipment (including x-ray machines and anaesthesia equipment), and water pumps, all worth some 2.445 billion Won (about US$ 2 million) are now piling up due to the government’s refusal to grant export permits.
South Korean authorities have taken this tough line after Pyongyang launched a long-range missile on 5 April and this over international objections and protests.
On several occasions, the government in Seoul said it would not change its policy unless and until its counterpart in Pyongyang does not give up its nuclear programme. However, this is leading to the collapse of economic relations between the two countries.
Under the hard-line policy, trade relations are now nearly impossible and anyone who violates the ban can expect to be severely punished.
For Kim Jeong-tae, who chairs a group of southern businesses who do business in North Korea, the policy is preventing his associates from doing business with North Korean companies that are not subject to sanctions, which is in itself a violation of the law.