SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The accumulated production value of goods manufactured at a joint inter-Korean industrial complex in North Korea has exceeded US$200 million (euro142 million), the facility's management said Wednesday.
About 19,430 North Korean workers and 800 South Koreans are employed by 26 South Korean-run factories in the complex located in a North Korean border city, the Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee said in a press release.
The complex's combined accumulated production since opening in December 2004 is estimated at US$213 million (euro151 million) as of the end of September after surpassing US$100 million (euro71 million) in January this year, the release said.
North Korean laborers at the site produce a range of goods including watches, clothing and athletic shoes under the supervision of South Korean managers. The goods are exported to South Korea.
The committee consists of officials from the North and South who oversee the running of the zone in the city of Kaesong, just across the heavily armed demilitarized zone that has dived the Koreas since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
The industrial park and a tourism program to North Korea's scenic Diamond Mountain are among the most tangible symbols of inter-Korean reconciliation that has gained momentum in recent years.
The two Koreas agreed to expand economic cooperation at their second-ever summit between South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Il last week. The first summit took place in 2000.
President Roh, however, while in Pyongyang said his government should not use such terms as ''reform and openness'' in describing the Kaesong complex, citing North Korean complaints about the words.
On Wednesday, South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, was found to have deleted the two terms from its Web site's section on the joint complex.
''It's natural for working-level officials to revise the phrase as the president made such remarks,'' a Unification Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing protocol.
''South and North Korea agreed to respect each other's systems a long time ago,'' presidential spokesman Cheon Ho-seon told reporters Wednesday. ''It seems the issue of reform and openness are clearly words the expression of which could make the impression of attempting to shake up their system.''