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Kaesong or Kaisong (both: kăˈsŭngˈ), Jap. Kaijo, city (1993 pop. 334,433), S North Korea. A long-time commercial center, it is important for its exports of ginseng, a valuable medicinal root. There is also active trade in rice, barley, and wheat. Textiles are made in the city, and there is some heavy industry. A special economic zone where South Korean firms manufacture products for export is there; a highway connects the zone with South Korea. Operations at the facility have been interrupted at times by North-South tensions.

In the 10th cent. Wang Kon, founder of the Koryo dynasty, made Kaesong his capital; the city, then called Songdo, remained Korea's capital until 1392, when the Choson (or Yi) dynasty moved the capital to Seoul. Intersected by the 38th parallel, Kaesong served as the main contact point between North and South Korea from 1945 to 1951 and passed from United Nations to North Korean forces several times during the Korean War. The armistice talks, first held at Kaesong, were later transferred to Panmunjom (Panmunjeom). Historic landmarks include the tombs of several Korean kings, the old city walls, and the remains of a royal palace from the Koryo period.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city in North Korea, in the southern part of the Korean People’s Democratic Republic (KPDR), near the 38th parallel. Population, 265,000 (1966). Terminus on the Sinuiju-Pyongyang-Seoul-Pusan main railroad line.

Kaesong is an important center for food processing and light industry. It has factories producing textiles, synthetic fibers, rubber footwear, porcelain ware, and other consumer goods. There is a machine-tool plant, a watch factory, and diversified local industry. Kaesong is the center of the main region for cultivating and processing ginseng in the KPDR. The Songdo Institute, a museum, a theater, and a television station are located in the city. During the American aggression against the KPDR (1950–53), Kaesong was the site of negotiations and the signing of a truce agreement.

Kaesong was the ancient capital of the Korean state from the tenth to 14th centuries. In 918 the palace of the Manwoltae rulers was built there (destroyed in 1361); it was surrounded by a fortified wall having 20 gates, including the Gate of Namda-emun (built in 1393, destroyed in 1950–53, and restored in 1955). Other remaining monuments are the pagodas of the Hyonhwa-sa temple (1018) and the Kaengjaeng-sa temple (1348) and a country estate (second half of the 16th century).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in SW North Korea: former capital of Korea (938--1392). Pop.: 621 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The Park administration went so far as to shut down the Gaeseong Industrial Region.
These incidents followed the Lee government's antagonistic stance on inter-Korean relations and resulted in South Korea's suspension in 2010 of inter-Korean economic activity and cooperation except for the Gaeseong Industrial Complex.
And there must be effective measures to ensure the presence of foreign companies in the Gaeseong complex.
Since a preliminary agreement in August to reopen Gaeseong, the two sides also reached an accord to restart reunions of families separated by the Korean War.
For example, the Raseon and Sinuiju flee trade areas were founded as general flee trade areas to attract general foreign investment; by contrast, the Gaeseong Industrial Complex and other cooperative ventures between North and South Korea, such as the Geumgangsan resort, were economic aspects of a larger political initiative to improve and strengthen North-South relations.
Gyeongbokgung Palace When Korea's capital was moved from Gaeseong to Hanyang (which would later become Seoul) in the late 1300s a new palace was founded to become the home of kings.
The total production from the Gaeseong Industrial Complex, a symbol of inter-Korean business cooperation, exceeded the US$300 million mark as of the end of February 2008.
Moon Kook-hyun, CEO of Yuhan-Kimberly Ltd., Kimberly-Clark's South Korean unit in Seoul, recently revealed that the company's plant in China may take part in slots of the industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Gaeseong. "First of all, I plan to sign a preliminary contract (to take part in the Gaeseong industrial complex) and then will persuade our head office," Mr.
(14) Some kisaeng unions in Gaeseong and Suwon called for strikes, demanding "abolition of the VD examinations conducted twice a week, because this is too insulting to be tolerated." (15)
The oldest Korean Sungkyunkwan, founded in 992 in the 918-1392 Goryeo Kingdom capital of Gaeseong, in present-day North Korea, received UNESCO World Heritage status in 2013, as evidenced by a plaque in front of the site, known today as the Koryo Museum.
In particular, the Mount Kumgang tourism project and the Gaeseong Industrial Complex were major cash cows for the Kim Jong-il regime.