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Iran Press TV

South Korea rejects North bid to detain businessman in joint zone

Iran Press TV

Tue Jan 27, 2015 7:36AM

South Korea says it has rejected a North Korean bid for the right to arrest South Korean businessmen working in the Kaesong joint industrial complex if they are found not carrying out their contractual duties.

"They sent us the request to change some rules on the Kaesong complex, including making it possible to detain our entrepreneurs," an official from Seoul's Unification Ministry said on Tuesday, adding, "We rejected the request."

Established in 2004 as a symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, the Kaesong zone is located some 10 kilometers (six miles) inside North Korea and hosts about 100 Seoul-owned factories, where 53,000 North Korean workers produce goods from clothes to watches. A large number of South Korean businessmen also work in the complex.

Last September, North Korea came up with a new regulation allowing Pyongyang to detain South Korean businessmen when there is an unsettled business dispute.

Seoul says North has no legal basis to detain South Koreans, and the highest level of punishment would be to send them back to South.

Pyongyang has not yet responded to Seoul's comments. "There has been no word from the North on that," the unnamed official said.

MSM/HJL



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