Lawmakers plan visit to Kaesong

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Lawmakers plan visit to Kaesong

A group of eight South Korean lawmakers plan to visit the joint inter-Korean industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong Friday, an official said yesterday.

The North sent a message to South Korea on Sunday that it will accept the trip by the delegation of the parliamentary members who handle either inter-Korean relations or foreign affairs, said Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk.

Any trip to the North requires the South Korean government’s approval as well as the North’s consent. The Koreas still technically remain in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an truce, not a peace treaty.

The delegation plans to meet with South Korean company officials in the complex and tour the area before returning home Friday afternoon. No meeting with North Korean officials is scheduled, according to Kim.

The rare trip comes amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula over the North’s two deadly attacks on the South in 2010. Still, the two Koreas have kept intact the shared complex that brings together South Korean capital and technology with cheap labor from the North.

More than 50,000 North Koreans work at 123 South Korean firms operating in the industrial zone to produce clothes, utensils, watches and other goods. The project serves as a key legitimate cash cow for the impoverished communist country.

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