06/28/2005, 00.00
SOUTH KOREA - NORTH KOREA
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Love is born out of cooperation between the two Koreas

by Theresa Kim Hwa-young

He is from the south, she is from the north: colleagues in the Kaesong industrial complex, they plan to get married.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – Signs of hope for resumed dialogue between the peoples of North and South Korea may be discerned in news of a love born within a "cooperation project" between Seoul and Pyongyang. According to the South Korean daily, Maeil Business Newspaper, the two workers of SJ Tech, an electronics factory situated within the industrial complex of Kaesong, have fallen in love and plan to get married. Kaesong is a North Korean city around 10kmn from the northern border with the south.

Yu Chang-gun, chairman of the firm, told the newspaper the couple has "serious intentions of getting married", adding that he was "surprised by the fact". He has decided to do everything possible to help the two overcome obstacles in the way of their marriage.  

Many sociologists say there could be other such cases, given that around 600 South Koreans and 3,200 North Koreans work in the complex. "I believe it's only natural and inevitable that such phenomena take place thanks to the growing rate of exchanges between the two states," said a North Korean source. Legal experts say the couple could resort to international legislation but anyway it would be necessary to get the North Korean government's approval for the marriage.

Economic cooperation between the two Koreas followed the 2000 Meeting, when the leaders of Seoul and Pyongyang met for the first time since the division of the peninsula.

One of the outcomes of the agreements, perhaps the most publicised, is the "Kaesong Industrial Complex Project", which takes its name from a small city in North Korea some 10km from the northern border with South Korea. The "Kaesong Project" is a project of mutual survival and co-prosperity which aims to help both the north and the south by combining the capital and technology of the south with the land and labour force of the north. Economic analysts say it is of great help not only to lighten worries caused by the high costs of South Korean firms, but also to alleviate Pyongyang's economic problems. At the same time, the project may boost the resumption of dialogue between the two governments on the peninsula.

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