Sunday, February 9, 2014

Connecting Kaesong to the internet: some implications

As reported by Yonhap, South and North Korea agreed last week on how to connect their jointly operated factory park in Kaesong to the Internet, a move that could remove a key obstacle standing in the way of potential foreign investment.  Readers of this blog will know that I've been intensely interested in the dilemma posed for North Korea by the Internet, the so-called "dictator's dilemma" or "digital dilemma." (check out these earlier posts) (or these on the "digital dilemma)
The Yonhap report goes on to say that "KT, South Korea's top fixed-line operator and No. 2 mobile carrier, and North Korea's Post and Telecommunications Corp. plan to discuss details on setting up Internet services, said the ministry. The move came six months after the rival Koreas agreed to allow South Korean factory managers to use the Internet and mobile phones in the sprawling enclave. The factory park is home to 120 small South Korean plants producing clothes, shoes, watches and other labor-intensive goods. More than 44,600 North Koreans work in the complex, providing a major revenue source for their cash-strapped country. South Korea hopes to bring foreign investors to the factory park, believing their presence could help deter North Korea from unilaterally shuttering the park." What the Yonhap piece does not mention is that the Kaesong industrial complex location was originally proposed and chose because of its proximity to the Incheon International Airport, which was envisioned as not only an airport, but a seaport and teleport as well. Interesting developments indeed.

1 comment:

  1. The agreement by North Korea to allow some internet connection to the Kaesong industrial complex is drawing attention in tech circles, as illustrated by a post on The Register: