S. Korea to check damage sustained by firms at Kaesong complex
SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea said Monday it will launch an inspection to assess the exact financial damage sustained by local firms that ran factories at a joint industrial park in North Korea which was shut down in the wake of heightened cross-border tensions.
On Feb. 10, Seoul shut down the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North's border city of the same name in response to Pyongayng's latest nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.
The factory zone, some 50 kilometers northwest of Seoul, used to house more than 120 South Korean firms with around 54,000 North Korean workers being employed.
The Ministry of Unification said that it plans to start collecting information from these firms and assess the financial damage to help map out support measures for them.
The South Korean firms have claimed that they have suffered more than 815 billion won (US$686 million) in losses from the shutdown, adding that actual damage could be much larger.
But the government views their loss estimate as overblown since the calculations are not backed by factual data.
"Based on the probe, the government plans to come up with support measures to compensate losses which they've inevitably suffered based on reasonable calculations," said a ministry official.
The complex, which opened in 2004, had served as a major revenue source for the cash-strapped North, while South Korea had benefited from cheap but skilled North Korean labor.