South Korean Delegation Heads Into Kaesong Industrial Complex

D-Bo , March 25, 2015, 10:36 a.m.

Nine South Koreans crossed the heavily fortified border into North Korea on Wednesday for a rare trip to an inter-Korean factory park amid tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a unification ministry official said.

The delegation mostly composed of members of the Korea Foundation for International Healthcare was planning to tour medical facilities and daycare centers for North Korean workers in the North's western border city of Kaesong before returning home later in the day, the official said.

The one-day trip is closely watched in South Korea as the delegation included four members of South Korea's presidential committee tasked with preparing for possible unification with North Korea.

One of the four committee members is former culture minister Kim Sung-jae, who currently heads a subcommittee handling social and cultural affairs at the Presidential Committee for Unification Preparation.

The trip came days after North Korea demanded that South Korea dismantle the committee over controversial comments made by committee vice chairman Chung Chong-wook.  Chung came under fire for suggesting that South Korea is preparing for reunification by absorption.

He later disavowed his remarks and said a peaceful unification based on consensus is the only way sought by South Korea to reunify with the North.  The sprawling enclave in Kaesong is home to more than 120 small South Korean businesses producing garments and other labor-intensive goods. More than 54,000 North Koreans work in the complex.


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