Toxic chemicals hit North Korean workers

2014-08-27 14:46


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - Scores of North Korean workers employed by South Korean factories at a joint industrial complex have fallen sick after possible exposure to toxic chemicals, sparking criticism from Pyongyang, Seoul officials said on Wednesday.

The affected workers at two car parts companies in the Kaesong complex have gone on sick leave, citing headaches and nausea, the South's unification ministry said.

The ministry declined to confirm a Yonhap news agency report that dozens of workers were affected.

The North said its workers had been poisoned by toxic chemicals but rejected the South's proposal for an investigation by independent experts, it said.

"It is important to figure out how it happened," ministry spokesperson Lim Byeong-Cheol told reporters.

"Most important of all... is an epidemiological investigation by experts into the exact cause of such an industrial accident."

The complex, which opened in 2004 as a rare symbol of cross-border cooperation, employs some 50 000 North Koreans in 120 South Korean light industrial firms.

The two Koreas set up a joint committee to run Kaesong after the zone shut down completely for five months last year as tensions surged in the wake of North Korea's third nuclear test.

South Korea has been pushing hard for overseas involvement in the zone, believing the presence of foreign firms would make it harder for Pyongyang to shut down the complex in the future.

But the real barrier remains the huge potential for instability due to the total incompatibility of the two countries that operate Kaesong.

Read more on:    south korea  |  north korea

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.