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Twitter Send 2010/06/17 20:47 KST
S. Korean firms in Kaesong to ask for emergency funds

SEOUL, June 17 (Yonhap) -- South Korean companies at a joint industrial complex in North Korea said Thursday they will ask their government to provide emergency funds, as business conditions worsened amid heightened cross-border tensions triggered by the North's sinking of a southern warship in March.

   The industrial park in the North's border city of Kaesong, where 110 South Korean factories operate with some 42,000 North Koreans hired, is the last-remaining inter-Korean business project. Its future is thrown into doubt after Seoul officially blamed Pyongyang for torpedoing the 1,200-ton Cheonan on March 26 that killed 46 sailors.

   South Korea has taken a series of retaliatory measures, including a ban on most inter-Korean trade and diplomatic efforts to censure the North at the U.N. Security Council.

   South Korean companies at the joint complex report a sharp drop in orders amid cross-border tensions.

   Earlier in the day, representatives of the South Korean firms held a meeting and decided to ask their government to provide emergency funds and ease border restrictions.

   About 800 South Koreans are now working at the Kaesong park.