[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

S Korea rally presses for Kaesong reopening

About 53,000 mostly North Korean workers lost their jobs when the joint industrial complex was shut down amid tensions.

Last Modified: 30 May 2013 10:10
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
More than 120 South Korean businesses have invested in the border complex at Kaesong [Reuters]

Hundreds of South Korean workers have staged a rally calling on political leaders in Seoul and Pyongyang to reopen the a joint industrial complex in North Korea.

About 250 people, including business owners, gathered on Thursday in the South Korean border town of Paju, near a bridge connecting the two countries, to demand the resumption of business operation in Kaesong.

"The Kaesong Industrial Complex which was our living foundation providing the happiness has now disappeared," said Lee Im-dong, a Kaesong business leader. "Who took our job? Who made us this desperate?"

"We want the unconditional normalisation of the Kaesong complex. The Kaesong workers want their jobs back," Lee said.

The workers had planned to hold a rally at the bridge, but it was stopped by police for lack of permit to protest.

About 53,000 mostly North Korean workers lost their jobs when Kaesong was closed during a spike in tensions last April.

More than 120 South Korean businesses have invested in the border complex at Kaesong, the last remaining symbol of cooperation between North and South Korea.

Business owners and workers wanted the South Korean Unification Ministry to approve their visit to the complex, but no response came from the ministry, so all returned home.

Recently, North Korea said South Korean businessmen could enter the jointly run industrial park.

In a statement carried by the North's official media on Tuesday, the government agency in charge of relations with Seoul said Pyongyang was ready to talk about reopening the Kaesong complex if the business owners visit.

South Korea's Unification Ministry urged the North to have talks with the government, not civilians but gave no further comment.

Recent tension has been fuelled by North Korean anger over the imposition of UN sanctions after its last nuclear arms test in February, creating one of the worst periods of tension on the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

316

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.