The 800-acre Kaesong Industrial Complex, located just miles from the DMZ, is now the barometer for economic cooperation between North and South Korea. In the past decade, North Korea has increasingly relied on Chinese assistance and investment, thereby diminishing South Korean economic leverage. Due to North Korea’s need for sponsorship, it is plausible to conclude that “as Kaesong goes, so goes the future of North Korea.”
At a launch event co-hosted by the Korea Economic Institute on March 8, from 12:00-1:30 p.m., the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) released Vital Venture: Economic Engagement of North Korea and the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a new report authored by Dr. Patrick M. Cronin, CNAS Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program. In the report, Dr. Cronin provides insight into the dynamics at Kaesong and strongly argues for using political transition on both sides of the DMZ to engage, probe and reassess approaches to North Korea. Incorporating extensive interactions with South Korean government officials and scholars, Vital Venture analyzes North Korean adaptation and survival strategies, investigates the history of Kaesong and its status after the Sunshine Policy as well as its significant implications for U.S. policy. Ambassador Jack Pritchard provided commentary on this thought provoking paper.