Anchor: South Korean businesspeople who had production bases at the now-shut down inter-Korean Gaesong Industrial Complex are seeking to visit to check on their assets left in the North. They again applied for permission to make a cross-border trip as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently hinted the possibility of resuming the joint venture which was shut down in 2016.
Our Bae Joo-yon has more.
[Sound bite: news conference by S. Korean Gaesong Businesspeople (Korean/Jan. 9)]
The official application to the Unification Ministry Wednesday marks the seventh time South Korean businesspeople have requested permission to make a cross-border trip to the Gaesong industrial park in North Korea.
One-hundred-79 people are seeking to make a one-day trip on January 16th to inspect their assets left in the North following the shutdown of the complex nearly three years ago.
Since Seoul closed down the cross-border venture in 2016 following a nuclear test by the North, they have not had a chance to return to their factories in the border city.
This time, the business owners are hopeful that inter-Korean relations will be more conducive for their aim.
During his New Year’s speech last week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said he is willing to resume operations of suspended inter-Korean projects.
An emergency countermeasures committee comprising the business owners held a news conference on Wednesday, urging the South Korean government to allow their trip to the North to inspect their facilities.
[Sound bite: News conference by S. Korean Gaesong Businesspeople (Korean/Jan. 9)]
While discussing the difficulties following the factory shutdown, the South Koreans entrepreneurs called for financial help.
They argued that Seoul must persuade the international community to exempt international sanctions that ban the reopening of the factory park.
The Unification Ministry said it recognizes a need for such a visit to be made to protect the intellectual properties of the South Korean businesspeople.
However, the ministry added that the matter requires not only the understanding of the international community but also extensive discussions with the North.
Bae Joo-yon, KBS World Radio News.
[Photo : YONHAP News]