Night Watch

South Korea-North Korea: South Korean and North Korean envoys agreed to resume the operation of the Kaesong Industrial Complex next week, Seoul's Unification Ministry announced Wednesday, 11 September.

Operations will "resume on a trial basis from 16 September", a statement from the Unification Ministry said. "The institutional foundation has now been laid for Kaesong to develop into an internationally competitive and stable industrial complex."

South Korean firms will be exempt from taxes for the rest of the year to offset losses incurred while the complex was closed, it said.

The ministry also said that the two Koreas planned to host a roadshow to try and attract foreign investors to the zone in October.

Comment: The North's charm offensive continues, manifest in the Rodman visit, but some hard headed economic thinking managed to prevail over ideological petulance. Perhaps the most unnerving aspect of this agreement is the prospect of economic managers from both Koreas targeting together the rest of the world to entice investment.

Six Party Talks: At the daily Foreign Ministry press conference, the spokesman was asked about the Six Party Talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programs.

"Q: The ROK and US chief delegates to the Six-Party Talks said on the 10th that there is no way the Six-Party Talks can be restarted if the DPRK (North Korea) does not change its attitude on the nuclear issue. Does the Chinese side have any comment?"

"A: The Chinese side has always advocated remaining committed to achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and resolving related issues through dialogue and consultations. In the current situation, the parties concerned should keep the broad picture in mind, do more things that will help ease the situation, make joint efforts to create favorable conditions for restarting the dialogue, and remain committed to resolving related issues within the framework of the Six-Party Talks."

Comment: One of the drawbacks to the policy of persuading the Chinese to get engaged in a problem is their propensity to solve it their way without compromise. The answer provided by the Foreign Ministry spokesman is a restatement of Chinese policies enunciated at the National People's Congress.

Night Watch

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