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(LEAD) N. Korea hints operation of inter-Korean industrial complex

All Headlines 10:52 October 06, 2017

(ATTN: ADDS remark from unification ministry in last 2 paras)

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (Yonhap) -- Pyongyang hinted Friday it has resumed operation of the inter-Korean industrial complex in North Korea's border city of Kaesong which was shut down by Seoul in 2016.

In February 2016, South Korea closed down the Kaesong Industrial Complex in response to North Korea's fourth nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

North Korea's propaganda outlet Uriminzokkiri said the industrial zone lies within its sovereign territory, and claimed other countries should not interfere with the issue.

The outlet added the factories will run more actively, implying that Pyongyang began production using South Korean firms' facilities left behind at the zone.

The announcement followed reports that North Korea began utilizing production facilities located in the zone, producing goods such as clothes.

Opened in 2004, the factory zone had housed 124 South Korean firms hiring more than 54,000 North Korean workers to produce labor-intensive goods such as clothes and utensils.

Last year, North Korea said it will freeze all assets of South Korean companies located within the industrial zone.

In reponse to the announcement, Seoul's unification ministry said North Korea should refrain from infringing on property rights of South Korean companies.

In August, the ministry also highlighted cars and other property at the Kaesong complex belong to South Korean firms following reports that automobiles left behind the zone went missing.

Seen from Paju, north of Seoul, in this photo on Sept. 28, 2017, is North Korea's border town of Kaesong that used to host South Korean companies at its inter-Korean joint venture complex. (Yonhap)


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