SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean companies that operated factories at the now-shuttered joint industrial park in North Korea will ask the Seoul government next week to travel to the border city of Kaesong to inspect their facilities, a private task force representing the firms said Friday.
They will submit the application to the government Monday and announce in detail when and how many companies want to visit the complex, it said.
They have been planning to file the request after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which is set to wrap up its 17-day run on Sunday, hoping the international sports event will help pave the way for the resumption of the factory park’s operations.
South Korea abruptly pulled the plug on the industrial enclave — once hailed as a key symbol of economic cooperation between the two Koreas — in February 2016 to punish the North for its fourth nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
The companies have asked for approval to visit North Korea multiple times, though their plans have all fallen through due to heightened tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions. It will be the second time they have sought approval from the Seoul government since President Moon Jae-in took office in May last year.
Any trip by South Koreans to North Korea requires the government’s approval as well as the North’s consent. The two Koreas technically remain in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.