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Park voices hope for Kaesong industrial zone to help N. Korea open up

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday she hopes a recently restarted joint industrial complex in North Korea will serve as the starting point for the communist nation to open up to the outside world and rebuild its economy.

Park made the remark during a Cabinet meeting, saying that she saw how much Vietnam has developed through reform and openness during a recent trip to the Southeast Asian nation and that she hopes North Korea will follow in Vietnam's footsteps.

The inter-Korean industrial zone in the North's border city of Kaesong resumed operations Monday for the first time in five months after North Korea unilaterally shut it down in early April in anger over U.S.-involved military exercises in the South.

"Through my visit to Vietnam last week, I was able to confirm the success case of reform and openness," Park said. "I hope North Korea will also make the right choice by using the Kaesong Industrial Complex as the starting point."

Park also stressed that the factory park should be operated according to "common sense and international standards" if it is to be further developed to attract foreign firms.

Referring to the issue of history textbooks accused of ideological bias, Park stressed the importance of teaching students correct historical facts. She said it is an important duty of the current generations to help students develop balanced historical views based on facts.

Park also said textbooks should not be a ground for ideological arguments.

Last week, the education ministry said it will conduct an in-depth review of eight recently licensed history textbooks for high school students and order them to make revisions if necessary, after one of them sparked ire for containing a conservative bias.

Park ordered officials to scrutinize the texts and make revisions, if necessary, as early as possible to make sure that there won't be any delay in distributing them to students.

On the food scare over radioactive-tainted fisheries products from Japan, Park ordered officials to make sure to have the country of origin marked correctly on fisheries products, and transparently make public test results and other related information.

A food scare has flared up here after Japan's revelations in July that tons of radioactive water had poured out of the Fukushima nuclear plant. Earlier this month, South Korea imposed an import ban on all fisheries products from Fukushima and seven other adjacent prefectures in Japan.

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