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Almost 60 percent of experts say Kaesong complex should be left intact

All News 10:11 January 28, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 28 (Yonhap) -- Almost 60 percent of South Korean experts on North Korea said that the two Koreas should leave a joint industrial park in the North intact despite Pyongyang's latest nuclear test, a survey showed Thursday.

A total of 57.7 percent of 104 experts polled said that the operation of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North's border city of the same name should be maintained as it is, according to the poll by the National Unification Advisory Council, Seoul's presidential advisory panel on unification.

The survey showed that 11.5 percent of the respondents said the operation of the factory zone could be scaled down depending on the situation.

The industrial complex, which opened in 2004, is the only remaining symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation. It has served as a major revenue source for the cash-strapped North, while South Korea has benefited from cheap but skilled North Korean labor.

There are concerns that an extension of inter-Korean tension sparked by the North's nuke test early this month may lead to a temporary closure of the complex.

South Korea has recently limited the entry of its nationals into the factory zone to ensure the safety of its people there.

The government has said that it is not considering temporarily shutting down the complex or withdrawing South Koreans from it despite the North's nuclear test.

But a total of 124 South Koreans firms operating at the factory park expressed concerns about a possible repeat of what happened back in 2013, when operations were suspended for a while.

In April 2013, the North shut down the complex for about four months, citing what it called heightened tensions sparked by a military drill between Seoul and Washington.

The survey also showed that 43.3 percent of the surveyed said sanctions by the U.N. Security Council would be the best way to punish North Korea.

It said that 61.5 percent of the respondents said China has the largest leverage in reining in North Korea, followed by the U.S. with 37.5 percent.


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