S. Korea reviewing damages suit over N. Korea’s illegal operation of Kaesong complex

SEOUL, South Korea's unification ministry said Wednesday it is closely reviewing legal aspects needed to sue North Korea over its illegal operation of the now-shuttered joint industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong. The Donga Ilbo, a local newspaper, reported Wednesday that the government plans to lodge a lawsuit against North Korea over 400 billion won (US$300.6 million) in damages incurred from the North's unauthorized operation of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The ministry declined to confirm the size of the calculated damages in the report but said the government will sternly deal with North Korea's infringement on the property rights of South Koreans. "In this regard, we are closely reviewing legal aspects necessary for a lawsuit (related to the Kaesong complex) and preparing for it," the ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs said. "We will decide on the specific timing of the suit after taking into account the situation at the complex," it added. The ministry said in Decemb er that North Korea had been operating around 30 South Korean-owned facilities at the complex without authorization. The government earlier said it could take legal actions against Pyongyang as North Korea's illegal operation infringes on the property rights of South Korean owners and also is a clear violation of inter-Korean agreements. South Korea suspended the operation of the industrial complex, once a symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation, in February 2016 in response to the North's nuclear and long-range missile tests. In June last year, the ministry lodged a lawsuit against North Korea over Pyongyang's 2020 destruction of the joint liaison office in Kaesong over 44.7 billion won in damages. In 2020, North Korea blew up the inter-Korean liaison office in anger over Seoul's failure to stop North Korean defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border. Source: Yonhap News Agency