South Korean lawmakers head to Kaesong complex
Seoul – A group of South Korea lawmakers crossed the border line separating North and South Korea into the Kaesong industrial complex to make an on-site inspection during the parliamentary audit session, authorities said Wednesday.
“A total 47 people, including 21 members of the parliamentary foreign affairs and unification committee, crossed the military demarcation line at 9.30 a.m. as scheduled,” Xinhua reported Park Soo-jin, Seoul’s Unification Ministry’s spokeswoman, as saying.
Vice Unification Minister Kim Nam-sik accompanied the 21 lawmakers for the protocol purpose along with some ministry officials, aides of lawmakers and reporters.
The visit marked the first time that South Korean legislators travel to the Kaesong industrial zone, just north of the heavily armed border, during the parliamentary audit session that will run through Nov 2.
The lawmakers asked the ministry Oct 14 to permit their trip to Kaesong to make an on-site inspection into the reopened factory park.
In a surprise move, Pyongyang accepted the offer Oct 24, indicating a conciliatory gesture towards Seoul to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
The Kaesong industrial complex, launched in late 2004, was halted for around five months since early April, before being reopened for operation on Sep 16.
Despite the reopening, many firms complained about loss of orders and lack of operating capital.
Among 123 South Korean companies, which run factories in the Kaesong complex, 118 firms reportedly restarted factory operations, limiting their production capacity to around 80 percent.