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N. Korea denies 2 S. Koreans access to Kaesong complex

North Korea has denied the entry of two South Koreans to the joint industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong, a unification ministry official here said Wednesday.

The North verbally notified its decision on Tuesday to deny the two, including a vice chairman of the South Korea's management committee for the complex, the access, claiming that they oppose its stance and only represent the South Korean side, according to the official.

The official said that the North's decision is in violation of agreements signed between the two sides that guarantee South Korean workers' swift and safe access to the complex regardless of political situations.

He called on the North to take back the decision immediately, saying that it is an important issue closely linked to normalization of operations in the complex, which is regarded as symbolic in inter-Korean reconciliation since its launch in 2004.

No clear reason for the North's action has not been made known.

Some suspect that discord over the land use fee issue might be behind the decision.

The North has exempted South Korean firms a fee on their land use for the past decade, but the exemption expires this year. One of the South Koreans whose access was denied has been part of related negotiations.

Currently, the joint Kaesong park hosts around 120 South Korean companies. Its operation has been highly swayed by the level of

tension on the peninsula.  (Yonhap)

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