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N. Korea Allows Just 880 S. Koreans to Stay in Kaesong

Posted December. 02, 2008 03:38,   


North Korea yesterday announced that only 880 South Koreans will stay in the Kaesong industrial complex, only half of the number of core personnel who should stay in the area.

Experts say the North could induce South Korean companies to voluntarily withdraw their business activity from the area by making it hard for them to operate.

The South Korean Unification Ministry said Pyongyang delivered a notice at 11:55 p.m. Sunday saying those allowed to stay in Kaesong are 27 staff of the management committee; four from the (South) Korea Land Corp.; 40 from Hyundai Asan Corp.; five at restaurants and living quarters; two at shops and hospitals; and 800 from South Korean companies.

Dong Myeong-han, inter-Korean cooperation director of the Small Business Corp. in Seoul, said, “The North has yet to close the industrial complex, but we’re worried that it might effectively close it by putting limitations on supply and passage of South Korean staff. South Korean companies could inevitably collapse since they will likely lose business partners.”

Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun said in a statement, “It is regrettable that North Korea has taken measures that hinder the manufacturing activities of South Korean companies in the complex and aggravate market confidence. The measures go against the inter-Korean declaration that the two sides promise to resolve any conflict within the framework of dialogue and negotiations.”

The North has placed restrictions on inter-Korean activity. South Koreans can pass the inter-Korean border only three times per day and limited to 250 staff members and 150 vehicles each time. At the same time, Pyongyang prevented six South Korean staff from crossing the border, saying they violated rules.