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The one who remembers GIC's embryonic stage
- Kim Dong-keun, the former chairman of KIDMAC
| There is a special person who clearly remembers GIC's
embryonic stage. That person is Kim Dong-keun, the first
chairman of KIDMAC.
Kim first visited North on June 30, 2004. The land he stepped
on was wild construction site without shelters from the sun.
People even had to walk in safety shoes and boots.
"There were North Korean's houses in front of KIDMAC's office(KEPCO office at the moment). While I stayed there, I could see
children going to Gaeseong City for school and coming back
home. As I witnessed people' life rather than factories in
the same form, I could realize that here is not just one of industrial complexes, but the GIC in the North. Even until 2007, water treatment system was not set in GIC so people used ground water.
Due to polluted ground water caused by construction, South expatriates suffered from water-borne diseases. This sounds a tall story today when the 15-story General Support Center consisting of amenities and support facilities such as library, fitness center, has been constructed. Also entry and exit was more inconvenient than today. People were allowed to come and go only 4 times a day, and they went through the procedures in a container box until the North’s CIQ was constructed in 2006.
However, it was like fatherly affection for him to look after growing kid’s first toddling. “As there was no precedent for inter-Korean economic project forming industrial complex together, I struggled a lot. However, my heart was full and all aflutter to see its development,” said Kim.
“Those who visited GIC were amazed by GIC’s superb accessibility that it is an hour drive from Seoul. Then they were surprised again about cutting-edge infrastructure and low labor cost.” Kim smiled big.
Kim who spent the most of his term of office in Gaeseong was able to watch North Korean workers’ way to work and production more closely than anyone else. He drew a blueprint for the future when he saw that workers after stepping off from commuter buses with a smile, became serious in front of sewing machines.
“I look forward to the future of GIC after 10, 20 years because workers are so diligent that they do not leave the work even after lunch bell rings. Also workers are always joyful despite busy work.”
The ten-year-old GIC is transforming into the place for co-prosperity in promotion of peace beyond economic significance. Bridging the language gap by understanding different expressions such as ‘sanitary room’(North)-‘washroom’(South), ‘compatibility’(North)-‘flexibility’(South), and ‘mutual’-‘mutual(same meaning but reversed spelling in Korean)’ can be considered a small change.
Kim supports the globalization of GIC in hopes of invigorating the complex’s sustainable development.
“The name GIC in Chinese(開城) means ‘opening the city’. If it retains international competitiveness by attracting many global companies and improves 3C(Come-and-Go, Communications and Customs), I believe that GIC will become the hub of Northeast Asia before long.”