Seoul notifies P'yang of list of legislators for Kaesong visit

SEOUL, Oct. 25 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government on Friday provided North Korea with the list of lawmakers, including a former defector, who will visit the inter-Korean joint factory park in the North Korean border town of Kaesong, the ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs here said.

"(We) informed North Korea at 7:30 p.m. today of the list of a 50-member group, including all 24 members of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee, who will visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex" the Unification Ministry said.

A day earlier, Pyongyang notified Seoul of its intention to accept South Korean lawmakers' Oct. 16 request to visit the complex as early as possible to inspect business conditions, as it recently reopened after more than five months of being shut down. The one-sided closure by the North caused huge damages to 123 South Korean companies operating there.

Notable is that the list includes a defector-turned lawmaker, Cho Myung-chul of the ruling Saenuri Party. Cho defected to South Korea in 1994 and became the first North Korean defector to become a South Korean lawmaker in the incumbent Assembly.

It remains to be seen whether the communist country will allow Cho, a former professor at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang, to visit the complex.

The joint factory zone, launched in late 2004, came to a complete halt in early April, as the North suddenly removed all of its 53,000 North Korean workers from the joint manufacturing effort, citing military tensions with South Korea and the United States. The complex resumed operations on Sept. 16.

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