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S. Korean bizmen to again seek gov't approval to visit N. Korea

All News 09:43 July 06, 2018

SEOUL, July 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korean businessmen who operated factories at the now-shuttered joint industrial complex in North Korea will again ask the government to allow them to visit the park to inspect their facilities, their representative said Friday.

"We have decided to ask the government again next week," said Shin Han-yong, the head of a private task force that speaks on behalf of more than 120 South Korean companies. "We hope for a prompt resumption of the factory park."

The move comes amid a recent rapprochement on the Korean Peninsula following a summit between leaders of South and North Korea in April.

Still, it remains unclear whether South Korea's liberal government will give a green light to the businessmen.

In October, North Korea did not approve the businessmen's request to visit the factory park in North Korea's border city of Kaesong. In March, South Korea's liberal government deferred its decision on the businessmen's requests to visit the factory park.

Any trip by South Koreans to North Korea requires government approval as well as the North's consent as the two Koreas technically remain in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

South Korea's previous conservative government shuttered the complex -- once hailed as a symbol of the inter-Korean reconciliation -- in February 2016 in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

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

The two Koreas have been working to set up an inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong. South Korea plans to open it before the end of August.

In this file photo taken on May 21, 2018, North Korea's border city of Kaesong is visible from the South Korean border city of Paju. (Yonhap)


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