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S. Korean lawmakers visit joint factory park in DPRK

(Xinhua)

15:32, February 10, 2012

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- A group of South Korean lawmakers traveled Friday to an industrial park in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in a rare trip to the last-remaining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

Eight ruling and opposition lawmakers, all members of the parliamentary committees on inter-Korean relations and foreign affairs, crossed the land border earlier in the day on their way to the joint industrial complex in the border town of Keasong. "I hope the visit will lead to further dialogue, cooperation and progress in inter-Korean relations,"Kim Choong-whan of the ruling Saenuri Party said.

During the one-day tour, the lawmakers are scheduled to meet with business owners to hear their grievances, but have no plans to meet with DPRK officials.

The Kaesong industrial complex, opened in 2003, stands as a fragile symbol of reconciliation between the two wartime enemies as tension lingers on the divided peninsula following two deadly border incidents in 2010.

It now houses 123 South Korean firms that employ some 44,000 DPRK workers, but business operators there have said they feel threatened by worsening inter-Korean relations.

Friday's visit marks the first since September last year when former ruling party leader Hong Joon-pyo paid a working visit to the industrial park.

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