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U.S. official visits inter-Korean industrial zone in North Korea
The Associated Press (apwire)     Print Article 
Published 2006-03-21 12:40 (KST)   
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ A U.S. Congress staff member visited a joint North-South Korean industrial project in the north to learn more about it, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul said Tuesday.

Douglas Anderson, a staffer on the House International Relations Committee, looked around the South Korean-run industrial complex in the Northern border city of Kaesong for several hours on Monday, said embassy spokesman Robert Ogburn.

''He has wanted to go up and see and what it was like, and we sent a couple of embassy guys to go with him,'' the spokesman said.

South Korean media reported that it was the first time U.S. officials have visited the industrial zone, but Ogburn said it's not. ''Working-level people have been there before,'' he said, without giving further details.

The Kaesong industrial complex is one of the showcase inter-Korean projects launched after the landmark 2000 summit between the two country's leaders.

Fifteen South Korean companies now operate at the complex, using cheap North Korean labor. They started producing kitchenware and other goods in late 2004.

About 6,000 North Korean workers are employed at the factories.

South Korea hopes that a potential free trade agreement with the United States could include goods made at a joint industrial zone in North Korea.

But Washington is against it as a free trade deal only applies to goods originating within the territories of the two parties of the agreement _ South Korea and the United States
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter The Associated Press

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