Seoul cuts power, water supply to inter-Korean industrial complex

Seoul, Feb 12 (IANS) South Korean authorities have cut off water and power supply to the Kaesong industrial complex, a jointly run factory park across the North Korean border, officials said on Friday.

Power transmission was halted at 11.53 p.m. on Thursday night, South Korea’s unification ministry officials said.

The measure would also automatically stop the water supply for the complex, the official said.

After South Korea announced on Wednesday that it suspended the operation of the complex in response to North Korea’s nuclear and long range missile test, Pyongyang responded by seizing all assets in the complex and expelling South Korean personnel from there.

On Friday, a group of South Korean companies which were producing in the now closed industrial complex asked the South Korean government for “full support” as they are expecting “unimaginable losses” from the park’s closure.

The 124 South Korean companies which manufacture in the inter-Korean venture with North Korean workers claim they will not only suffer financial losses but will lose business partners and credibility as well.

South Korean companies pay a total of about $100 million to North Korean workers for wages every year.

The factories have served as a major foreign currency revenue source for the cash-strapped North, while South Korea has benefited from cheap but skilled North Korean labour.

When the industrial park was closed in 2013 for 160 days, South Korean firms reported a combined loss of $870 million.

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