. Korea to supply trained technicians for Kaesong industrial complex: report


North Korea plans to use a light-industry university in its border town of Kaesong to train technicians for an inter-Korean industrial complex in the town, a pro-Pyongyang newspaper in Japan said Monday.

“One of the demands by South Korean businesses operating in the Kaesong industrial complex is hiring competitive manpower from North Korea,” reported the Choson Sinbo, organ of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, citing an unnamed official of the Kaesong City People’s Committee.

“North Korea plans to nurture such talented people in Koryo Songgyungwan in Kaesong,” the official was quoted as saying.

To this end, the North is building a new campus to house more students on a site next to the existing Songgyungwan building, the newspaper said.

The industrial complex, located a few kilometers north of the inter-Korean border, is home to 15 South Korean companies that make goods for South Korean and foreign markets. They employed about 8,700 North Korean workers as of the end of last month.

As many as half a million North Koreans are expected to be working at the joint industrial complex by 2012, when it could likely house up to 2,000 South Korean companies, according to the Unification Ministry.

Seoul hopes its free trade agreement now under negotiations with the United States will recognize products made in Kaesong as South Korean-made, but Washington is against the idea.

Washington has also expressed skepticism about the inter-Korean project calling it a channel for North Korea to earn much-needed hard currency for its weapons of mass destruction development.

The Kaesong complex is one of the joint economic achievements the Koreas have so far made in the wake of their historic summit talks in June 2000.


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