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S. Korea to dismantle support foundation for Kaesong complex as early as next week

March 10, 2024 - 11:11 By Yonhap
This file photo taken from South Korea's border city of Paju, 37 kilometers northwest of Seoul, shows Kaesong Industrial complex. (Joint Press corps)

South Korea is expected to pass a proposal to shut down a support foundation for the now-shuttered inter-Korean industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong as early as next week, the unification ministry said Sunday.

The revision to the decree on support for the Kaesong Industrial Complex will be presented at a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, which will entrust the foundation's tasks to the civilian sector, according to the ministry.

The foundation -- set up in 2007 to support the operation of the factory park -- has almost ceased to function since Seoul shut down the complex in 2016 in protest of Pyongyang's nuclear test and its long-range missile launch at the time.

If the proposal is passed, it will likely take around one week for it to take effect, with the South-North Korea Exchanges and Cooperation Support Association set to take over the foundation's tasks.

A ministry official said the foundation's dismantling will have no impact on Seoul's planned legal action against the North's unauthorized operation of the complex. The ministry is currently reviewing a damages suit over the North's continued illegal operation of the park.

The factory park, once a symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation, was home to more than 120 small South Korean plants that produced garments and other labor-intensive goods by employing more than 54,300 North Korean workers.

Amid frosty inter-Korean relations, North Korea blew up the joint liaison office in the Kaesong complex in 2020 in anger over Seoul's failure to stop North Korean defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border. (Yonhap)