Published : 2013-10-27 10:24
Updated : 2013-10-27 10:24
North Korea informed South Korea on Saturday that it will not permit a defector-turned South Korean lawmaker to visit an inter-Korean industrial park on its soil next week, the unification ministry said.
The notice came a day after the Seoul government provided North Korea with the list of 24 ruling and opposition lawmakers who plan to visit the joint factory zone in the North's border city of Kaesong on Wednesday.
The visit is being arranged as part of the annual parliamentary inspection of President Park Geun-hye's government which took office in February.
The South Korean lawmakers, all from the National Assembly's foreign and unification affairs committee, include Cho Myung-chul, a former research professor at the North's Kim Il-sung University.
Cho defected to South Korea in 1994.
"The North agreed to the committee members seeking to visit the Kaesong complex and their schedule there," the ministry said in a news release. "But it notified that it cannot permit Cho's visit."
The joint factory zone, launched in 2004, combines South Korean capital and technology with cheap but skilled North Korean labor to produce mostly labor-intensive products such as garments, wristwatches and kitchen utensils.
It currently is home to about 120 South Korean plants that hire over 50,000 North Koreans.
The factory park is a by-product of the historic 2000 inter-Korean summit. (Yonhap News)