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South Korea holds ceremony to connect power cables with North

Dec 21, 2006 -- BBC Monitoring

South Korea on Thursday [21 December] held a ceremony to connect power cables to North Korea, which will provide up to 100,000 kW of electricity for South Korean businesses operating at a joint industrial complex in the energy-starved North, a joint South-North Korean committee running the complex said. A ceremony was held inside the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to connect cables running across the heavily-fortified border to the industrial complex in Kaesong, committee officials said.

The ceremony came at the end of a 51bn won (55m US dollar) construction project to set up electric power lines between the joint complex just north of the inter-Korean border and South Korea's Munsan, just south of the border, the Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee said in a press release. The country has only been able to supply 15,000 kW of electricity through utility poles, according to South Korean officials of the joint committee, which includes four to five North Korean representatives. About 20 South Korean firms are operating at the Kaesong industrial complex, which currently employs over 10,000 North Korean workers. The numbers are expected to climb to as many as 3,000 firms employing nearly half a million North Koreans by 2012 when the complex is fully developed, according to the Unification Ministry. "Once the construction of a Kaesong substation is completed early next year, we will be able to provide a sufficient amount of high- quality electricity to the (South Korean) firms at the complex," the Korea Electric Power Corporation said. The ceremony was attended by Han Joon-ho, president of the electric power company, Kim Dong- keun, South Korean head of the Kaesong management committee, and some 30 other officials from the Unification Ministry and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy.