A delegation of South Korean government and company officials entered North Korea on Friday to prepare for the opening of a joint liaison office in the North’s border city of Kaesong.
The 14-member team, led by Vice Unification Minister Chun Hae Sung, is supposed to inspect locations and facilities inside the joint industrial zone in Kaesong appropriate for setting up the inter-Korean liaison office as agreed on between the leaders of the two countries in April.
“We will make thorough inspection during today’s visit so that the liaison office could be established in the near term,” Chun told reporters before departing for North Korea.
Friday’s visit to the industrial zone is the first by South Koreans since February 2016 when ousted President Park Geun Hye’s administration decided to suspend the zone’s operation in response to Pyongyang’s long-range rocket launch and its fourth nuclear test.
The delegation crossed the demarcation line into North Korea via the customs, immigration and quarantine office in Dorasan, north of Seoul, in the morning and is expected to return later in the day.
(Chun Hae Sung, South Korea’s vice unification minister)
The Unification Ministry said Thursday that the delegation would include officials from large conglomerates such as Hyundai Asan Corp. and KT Corp.
In the April 27 Panmunjeom Declaration signed by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae In, they agreed to set up a joint liaison office with resident representatives in Kaesong for close consultation between the two countries and for exchanges between their peoples.