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S Korean team crosses into N Korean border town to prepare for liaison office

Update: June, 18/2018 - 11:00

SEOUL South Korea sent a group of government officials and civilians to the North Korea border town of Kaesong Tuesday to work on repairs for a liaison office that the two Koreas recently agreed to open for better communication, the unification ministry said.

The 17-member team, including ministry officials and staff of Hyundai Asan, a company that played a key role in past inter-Korean economic cooperation projects, crossed the military demarcation line at around 8.31am into the western border town, according to the ministry.

The team will return home late in the afternoon and plans to travel to Kaesong again on Wednesday, the ministry said.

Based on their visits to the site, the ministry plans to have its staff and construction workers stationed there carry out repair and other preparatory work before the launch of the office, an official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

The trip came after South Korea recently sent officials to Kaesong to conduct an on-site inspection in which they found that some of the buildings and equipment were not operating properly or needed repairs.

In a high-level officials’ meeting on June 1, the two Koreas agreed to open the liaison office "at an early date" to brace for increased cross-border exchanges following their leaders’ summit meetings in April and May.

Kaesong is where the two Koreas operated a joint industrial complex. Launched in 2004, the complex was hailed as a successful case of economic cooperation between the two Koreas as it combined South Korea’s capital with the North’s cheap and skillful labour.

Seoul, however, brought back all of its people from the complex in February 2016 following the North’s missile and nuclear provocations. — YONHAP



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