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S. Korean officials, civilians to visit N. Korea to prepare launch of liaison office

All Headlines 07:00 June 08, 2018

SEOUL, June 8 (Yonhap) -- A group of South Korean officials and civilians will visit North Korea on Friday to prepare the opening of a liaison office in the North's border town of Kaesong.

The 14-member team headed by Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung will leave for Kaesong early in the day to inspect relevant facilities.

The team includes officials from Hyundai Asan, which played a key role in past inter-Korean economic cooperation projects, including a now-suspended joint industrial complex in the North's western border city.

During the trip, they are expected to inspect facilities and find optimal places to house the office and personnel to be dispatched by the South for its operation.

If preparations go as planned, the office is expected to be launched within this month.

Last week, the two Koreas agreed to open the liaison office "at an early date" in anticipation of increased cross-border exchanges following their leader's summit meetings in April and May.

This marked the first time for South Korean people to visit the border city since February 2016, when the Seoul government shut the industrial complex and brought back its officials and workers in protest of the North's missile and nuclear provocations.

The joint industrial complex was operated between 2004 and 2016. Combining South Korea's capital with the North's cheap and skillful labor, it was hailed as a successful example of economic cooperation between the two Koreas.

The unification ministry has denied that the Kaesong office is related to the resumption of operations in the industrial complex, saying it would be considered in tandem with progress in denuclearization of the North.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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