Inter-Korean trade volume rises despite cross-border tension*
January 19, 2011
Trade volume between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) rose last year despite their frayed ties and suspended bilateral exchanges, the unification ministry said in Seoul Wednesday.
The inter-Korean trade volume in 2010 totaled 1.91 billion U.S. dollars, a 13.9 percent surge from a year earlier, ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-ju told reporters in a press briefing.
The increase comes in sharp contrast with the bad blood and lingering tension between the two estranged neighbors, whose relations remain at their lowest ebb.
The rise is mainly attributable to a whopping 53.4 percent year- on-year jump in exchanges at a joint industrial complex in the DPRK border town of Kaesong.
The last-remaining symbol of economic cooperation between the two Koreas, the joint complex, established in 2004 amid growing reconciliatory mood, houses more than 100 South Korean firms producing mostly labor-intensive goods.