North, South Korea Hold Talks On Kaesong Wage Dispute
North and South Korea officials hold talks Thursday aimed at resolving a protracted wage dispute at a jointly run factory complex.
A South Korean delegation left early Thursday for the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which lies on the North Korean side of the countries' tense border.
Lee Sang-min, head of the Seoul delegation, said it will be the first meeting since June for the joint commission in charge of running the complex.
The two sides have been mired in a months-long dispute over the North's unilateral move to raise the minimum monthly wage for its workers at the complex from $70.35 to $74.00, starting in March.
South Korea insists that any wage change must be determined through mutual agreement.
More than 53,000 North Korean workers are employed by about 120 South Korean factories in the park, which opened in 2004 and is one of
the few areas of North-South economic cooperation.
Pakistan Looks to Benefiting from Iran Nuclear Deal, with Chinese Help
Pakistan is hoping to be one of the early beneficiaries of the nuclear deal Iran has struck with six world powers. A long stalled gas pipeline project is expected to finally be completed. And Chinese money will go a long way towards reaching that goal.
Pakistan has been planning to build a pipeline to import gas from Iran for years—to help with its crippling energy shortage.
But work on the pipeline was stalled due to sanctions on Iran. So Pakistan planned a parallel project with the help of China - a liquid natural gas or LNG terminal on its southern port city Gwadar, with a 700 kilometer long pipeline to other areas of the country.
The project is expected to start in October and take 30 months to build. And Pakistan’s petroleum minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says the same pipeline will turn into the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline when the time comes.
“So as soon as we see that the sanctions are lifted or being lifted, there’s only 80 kilometer stretch of pipeline that we have to build. And that can be built in about six months.”
The petroleum minister explained that funding for this project will be provided by both Pakistan and China, but mostly China.
“It’s a $2 billion project and 85 percent of it is being financed by the Chinese EPC company and 15 percent will be provided by the Ministry of Petroleum.”
The same Pakistani port will be at the heart of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor — which plans to join western China to the sea, and drastically reduce shipping times and costs from China to the Middle East and Europe.