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22 ROK lawmakers to visit Kaesong complex

Updated: 2013-10-29 17:16
( Xinhua)

SEOUL - A total of 22 lawmakers from the Republic of Korea will visit the Kaesong industrial complex on Wednesday to check business conditions and listen directly from businessmen with factories there, Seoul's Unification Ministry said Tuesday.

Among 24 members of the parliamentary foreign affairs and unification committee, 22 will travel on Wednesday to the joint factory park in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's border town of Kaesong, according to the press release by the Unification Ministry.

Vice-Unification Minister Kim Nam-sik will accompany the lawmakers for the protocol purpose along with some ministry officials, aides of lawmakers and reporters.

It would mark the first time that ROK 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 on Oct 14 to permit their trip to Kaesong to make an on-site inspection into the factory park. The ministry passed the request on to the DPRK two days later.

In a surprise move, Pyongyang accepted the offer on 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 Sept 16. Despite the reopening, many firms complained about loss of orders and lack of operating capital.

Among 123 ROK companies, which run factories in the Kaesong complex, 118 firms reportedly restarted factory operations, limiting their production capacity to around 80 percent.

While staying in Kaesong, the lawmakers will be briefed on current business conditions of the complex, visit four companies there, have lunch with businessmen and inspect major infrastructure facilities such as water treatment plants, fire station and electric power substations.

The lawmakers were scheduled to cross the military demarcation line, separating the two Koreas, at 9:30 am local time on Wednesday, before crossing the line back to the South side at 4 pm.