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South Korea Halts Visits to North Except to Gaeseong Factories

Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- South Korea temporarily banned its citizens from visiting North Korea, except for a jointly-run industrial park in Gaeseong, after the death of the communist state’s leader Kim Jong Il.

All planned visits including conferences on inter-Korean historic sites and humanitarian aid-related trips have been put on hold temporarily, Yoo Sun, an official at the Unification Ministry in Seoul, said by phone.

“We are not sure of when the visits will be allowed again,” Yoo said.

A total of 940 South Koreans are still working at the industrial complex, which is located about 10 miles (16 kilometers) inside North Korea, according to the Unification Ministry.

Shares of South Korean companies with links or operations at Gaeseong were mixed in trading today. Good People Co., an underwear maker, fell 3.2 percent to 1,790 won while Romanson Co., a watch maker declined 1.5 percent to 2,560 won.

Namkwang Engineering & Construction Co., which builds dams, tunnels and airports, jumped 5.7 percent to 1,025 won after a 5.8 percent decline.

Kim died of a heart attack Dec. 17, the official Korean Central News Agency said yesterday.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Kyoungwha Kim in Singapore at kkim19@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sandy Hendry at shendry@bloomberg.net

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