Flags of North Korea and South Korea (representative Image)
Flags of North Korea and South Korea (representative Image)

S Korea to hold talks with North on business people's trip to Kaesong industrial complex

ANI | Updated: May 20, 2019 12:40 IST

Seoul [North Korea], May 20 (ANI): South Korea has said that it will hold discussions with North Korea to provide humanitarian aid and allow business people to visit a shuttered joint industrial complex in the communist nation.
The development has come days after the South Korean government announced that it would permit a group of business people to visit the complex in the North's border town of Kaesong.
If realized, the envisioned trip will be the business leaders' first visit to the complex since the abrupt shutdown in February 2016 amid strained inter-Korean ties, reported Yonhap.
"We've had discussions with the North because this is an issue that businesses have long called for," Lee Sang-min, spokesperson of South Korea's unification ministry, said at a regular press briefing.
"We will continue discussions about specific schedules and the parts that require government assistance," Sang-min said.
Seoul said that the decision to approve the visit was made to protect the property rights of businesspeople.
Previous attempts to visit the complex were denied as the South Korean government apparently worried that a visit could signal that the two Koreas were preparing to reopen the industrial park despite Washington's push to keep sanctions on Pyongyang in place.
"The government's basic stance is that resumption of the Kaesong complex is necessary as it is an important means for improvement of inter-Korean relations and peace on the Korean Peninsula," Lee said.
"We will continue to make the necessary efforts to create the right conditions (for its resumption) under mutual cooperation."
The Kaesong industrial park, jointly run by the two Koreas, was shut down in 2016 when the previous Park Geun-hye's government ordered the closing down of its businesses and recalled their workers from the complex after the sanctions by Seoul were imposed on Pyongyang over the latter's fourth nuclear test in that year.
The industrial complex, during its peak operation, was home to over 120 South Korean firms employing about 50,000 North Korean workers. There have been numerous proposals to open the joint industrial park but to no avail.
Since then, the relations between the two Koreas have improved significantly, especially in the past year. Seoul on Friday announced that it would provide USD 8 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea through international agencies. (ANI)