South Korean members of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex Emergency Response Committee are monitoring the political situation on the peninsula. File Photo by Yonhap
Aug. 22 (UPI) -- South Korean businesses forced to leave their assets at a jointly operated factory park in North Korea held a meeting on Wednesday, according to a local press report.
Members of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex Emergency Response Committee said they are monitoring the rising reconciliatory mood between North and South, as South Korean President Moon Jae-in prepares for his next summit with Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, News 1 reported.
Tenant companies at Kaesong want to reopen the factories that were abruptly closed in 2016, when the former administration of Park Geun-hye suspended the project, citing concerns about Kaesong funds going toward nuclear weapons development.
Some of the companies are seeking reparations from Seoul, owing to economic struggles, according to the report.
Kim Seo-jin, a director of the committee, told News 1 90 out of 124 firms took part in the "emergency meeting."
"All of them are aware of the seriousness of the situation," Kim said.
There is hope among the South Korean companies U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's possible next visit to Pyongyang will yield results on North Korea denuclearization.
An inter-Korea summit at the United Nations General Assembly will be watched closely, according to the report.
"Business difficulties are serious among the tenant companies after the sudden shutdown of the Kaesong Industrial Complex," Kim said. "The government should provide concrete support for them."
Members believe Moon had made clear his intention to restart inter-Korea projects during a speech he delivered on Aug. 15, a national holiday.
But the United States has not eased sanctions on North Korea following the U.S.-North Korea summit in Singapore, and is tightening restrictions against companies doing business with Pyongyang.
On Tuesday the U.S. Treasury placed new sanctions on Russian companies and ships for violating United Nations sanctions on North Korea.
Eugene Chausovsky, senior Eurasia analyst at consulting firm Stratfor, told CNBC on Wednesday tougher Russian sanctions are to be expected.