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DPRK allows S.Korean businessmen to visit Kaesong industrial zone


08:04, July 04, 2013

SEOUL, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) allowed South Korean businessmen to visit the suspended Kaesong industrial zone to help them maintain their factories during the rainy season, South Korean unification ministry said Wednesday.

"In the letter, the North side (DPRK) said it will allow businessmen concerned to visit the complex in order to help them take emergency measures related to (possible) damages on facilities and materials during the rainy season,"the ministry spokesman's office said in a statement.

Liaison officials from both sides met at 5 p.m. local time at the border village of Panmunjeom, a unification ministry official told Xinhua, noting that the DPRK official conveyed the letter to the South Korean official at that time.

The DPRK liaison official accepted the proposal of the South Korean counterpart to resume communication channel at Panmunjeom. Inter-Korean communication hot line at Panmunjeom was restarted at 5:30 p.m., according to the ministry official.

Pyongyang said in the letter that if the planned visiting date is noticed, it will take necessary steps linked to passage and communications.

South Korean officials at the Kaesong Industrial Complex Management Committee will also be permitted to visit the joint industrial zone, the DPRK said, noting that it can take necessary consultations with them during their visit to Kaesong.

The DPRK letter came after some South Korean companies running factories at Kaesong asked the South Korean government to help them relocate facilities.

The emergency committee that speaks for 46 machinery and electronics parts makers at Kaesong said earlier that the companies can no longer wait for the prolonged standoff between Seoul and Pyongyang, calling on the government to take necessary steps for the relocation of their high-priced equipment vulnerable to humidity during the rainy season.

Pyongyang shut down the industrial park in April, pulling out 53,000 of its workers. South Korea also withdrew its personnel after Pyongyang rejected working-level talks.

The two sides sought to hold their first high-level official talks in six years in June, but the scheduled dialogue was called off abruptly due to dispute over the ranks of chief negotiators.

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