Workers call for gov't aid over suspended industrial zone in N. Korea

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- A business body on Friday called on the South Korean government to guarantee the livelihoods of those affected by the shutdown of an inter-Korean factory complex in North Korea.

The complex in the North's western border city of Kaesong has been shuttered since April when the North pulled out all of its 53,000 workers from the complex amid tension with South Korea.

South Korea responded by bringing home all of its workers from the complex that had been billed as the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

The closure of the complex dealt a blow to the 123 South Korean companies.

On Friday, a business body that speaks for hundreds of South Korean workers, who returned from Kaesong, called for the government's support, noting they are in a deep crisis.

Still, they did not elaborate on how exactly the government should guarantee their livelihoods.

Lim Ki-youn, one of the South Korean workers who returned from Kaesong, said he and two other workers have to take a six-month vacation next month due to the closure of their clothing factories in Kaesong.

In May, South Korea vowed to provide more funds to companies that have been hit by the suspension of the factory complex in North Korea.

The business body also asked South and North Korea to hold talks without any conditions to ensure that the complex will be up and running again.

The two Koreas had agreed to hold high-level government talks in Seoul earlier this month, but the meeting was called off a day before it was due to be held after North Korea was upset over the level of the chief South Korean negotiator.

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