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Businessmen call for probe into shutdown of factory park in N. Korea

All News 14:44 December 29, 2017

SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Yonhap) -- A private task force on Friday pressed the government to launch a probe into the shutdown of an inter-Korean joint factory park in North Korea.

South Korea pulled the plug on the factory park in the North's border city of Kaesong in February 2016 to punish the North for its fourth nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

On Thursday, a government panel said ousted former President Park Geun-hye issued a unilateral verbal order to shutter the park without discussions or consultations at the official decision-making level.

The task force -- which speaks for all 123 South Korean firms that had operated factories in the factory park -- said Park and two former top officials should be subject to a probe, and called on the government to offer an apology for the shutdown.

"The government should make every effort to resume the Kaesong Industrial Complex," Shin Han-yong, head of the task force, said in a news conference in western Seoul.

He also asked the government to compensate the companies that have factories in Kaesong for the losses they suffered and provide assistance to help normalize their business operations.

The complex, which connected the South Korean capital and technology with cheap labor from the North, was the only remaining symbol of cooperation between the two Koreas, which technically remain in a state of war.

In 2016, South Korea said the shutdown of the factory park was meant to keep money generated by the industrial park from going to Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development.

The panel, set up to review the previous conservative governments' North Korea policies, said Thursday that there is not sufficient information or evidence to support the claim that funds from the complex had been used to build weapons.


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