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S. Korean Staff Return Home From N. Korea

Posted May. 20, 2010 02:15,   


South Koreans in North Korea not working in the Kaesong Industrial Complex are returning home for their safety, the Unification Ministry in Seoul said Tuesday.

The ministry told them to return home ahead of the announcement of the results of the probe into the Cheonan sinking Thursday.

“All 11 South Koreans working on an inter-Korean excavation project in a Goryeo Dynasty palace in Kaesong returned to Korea (Tuesday),” a ministry source said. “The excavation was scheduled to last through June 10 but went faster than expected.”

Another South Korean government source said, “This is not because the team voluntarily left the site, but the Unification Ministry told members to leave the site Friday.”

In response, a ministry official said, “Given the situation in inter-Korean ties, we asked last week South Korean businessmen working with the North to care for their safety through various channels.”

The ministry also said all nine ships (64 sailors) that collected sand in Haeju and Kosong in the North returned to the South. A spring water business around Mount Kumgang recalled engineers staying there at Seoul’s request, and a South Korean staff member at Pyonghwa Motors in Pyongyang will head back Wednesday.

A combined 877 South Korean employees at the industrial complex and 16 employees of Hyundai Asan Corp. will remain in the North’s Kumgang Tourism District after Wednesday.

Business sources operating in Mount Kumgang including with Hyundai Asan said they are maintaining the status quo and will see how things develop after the announcement of the Cheonan probe results.