"This purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the role, purposes, and results of the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) and examine U.S. interests, policy issues, options, and legislation. The KIC is a six-year old industrial park located in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) just across the demilitarized zone from South Korea. As of the end of 2010, over 120 medium-sized South Korean companies were employing over 47,000 North Korean workers to manufacture products in Kaesong. The facility, which in 2010 produced $323 million in output, has the land and infrastructure to house two to three times as many firms and workers. Products vary widely, and include clothing and textiles (71 firms), kitchen utensils (4 firms), auto parts (4 firms), semiconductor parts (2 firms), and toner cartridges (1 firm). Despite a rise in tensions between North and South Korea since early 2008, the complex has continued to operate and expand. The KIC was not shut down in 2010 despite two violent incidents between the two Koreas that year: the March sinking of a South Korean naval vessel, the Cheonan, which was found to be caused by a North Korean torpedo, and North Korea's artillery attack on a South Korean island in November. Indeed, the complex has become virtually the last vestige of inter-Korean cooperation. After the Cheonan sinking, South Korea announced it would cut off all inter-Korean economic relations except the Kaesong complex. It also has reduced the number of South Korean workers--primarily government officials and business managers--at the complex because of worries about them being taken hostage by North Korea."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34093