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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Following the shutdown of the Gaesong facility, some suggested that the North be offered, through back-channel contacts, incentives to improve inter-Korean relations.
Meanwhile, Korea will begin preparations for the development of a 2.5-million-pyeong or 8.25 million square meters area in the inter-Korean industrial complex in the second half of this year as the second stage construction for the Gaesong industrial park.
The two Koreas agreed last week to open a liaison office in Gaesong "at an early date" in a bid to establish a key communication channel in preparation for increasing cross-border exchanges going forward.
Gaesong is the border city in North Korea where the two Koreas had been running a joint industrial complex beginning in 2004.
Ha was born in 1930 in Gaesong, North Korea, and spent his early days as a junior engineer at auto repair shops in Seoul.
In February 2016, South Korean convenience store chain CU was evicted from an inter-Korean industrial park in the border city of Gaesong in North Korea as bilateral tension increased and Pyongyang shut down the joint economic venture indefinitely.
The emerging road network would connect Yeongjongdo Island in the South, the home of Incheon International Airport, to the North's Gaesong Industrial Complex in North Hwanghae Province and Haeju in South Hwanghae Province.
Gaesong city is where the now-shuttered inter-Korean industrial complex is located.
The reopening of the Gaesong Industrial Complex will come next," he said.
Since 2000, the DPRK has attempted to emulate China's highly successful free trade zones (FTZ) by establishing the Sinuiju Special Administrative Region (SAR) on the northwestern border with China and Kaesong (Gaesong) Industrial Complex along the border with South Korea.