Senior DPRK official visits Kaesong industrial complex

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A senior official from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) visited the joint industrial park at the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, where South Korean workers and cargo have been banned from entering, the unification ministry said Monday.

Kim Yang Gon, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers ' Party, and other DPRK officials stayed at the Kaesong Industrial Complex from 9 a.m. through 11 a.m. on Monday, the spokesperson's office at the Ministry of Unification said by phone.

The officials visited the relevant DPRK departments at Kaesong and some South Korean companies, the ministry said, noting that there was no separate meeting with South Korean officials during their tour.

The sudden visit came six days after Pyongyang banned the entry of South Korean workers and vehicles to the industrial zone, bringing about a disruption in production by some companies.

South Korean Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told lawmakers that 13 South Korean companies stopped factory operation until now at Kaesong due to lack of food and materials, forecasting that six more firms would halt their operations on Monday.

The industrial park, launched in late 2004, is housing 123 South Korean companies that are employing some 54,000 DPRK workers.

After their visit, the official KCNA news agency cited Kim as saying that "it has become impossible to operate the zone as usual due to the South Korea warmongers' reckless acts." Kim called for "strained and mobilized posture on high alert" in case of provocation by the United States and South Korea.

According to an official at the unification ministry cited by Yonhap News Agency, the Seoul government will wait and see the developments at Kaesong without prejudging the visit has positive or negative implications.

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