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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
"After no agreement was reached (at the Trump-Kim summit), many people forecast that the Kaesong and Kumgang projects became harder (to restart) but there's still a lot of work to do at the current stage in preparation for their future resumption," Cho said in a seminar at the National Assembly.
Kaesong [Korea DPR], Dec 26 ( ANI ): High-ranking officials from North and South Korea held the groundbreaking ceremony for the joint railways project, which will traverse through the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between the two countries, on Wednesday at the Panmun station here.
The government is negotiating with the North on the businessmen's visit to the border town of Kaesong to inspect their properties, Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a press briefing.
Meanwhile, Shin Han-yong -- head of a private task force that speaks for more than 120 South Korean firms that had operated factories Kaesong -- said he feels like the sky is falling down after hearing the news of the summit's cancellation.
A nine-member committee of civilian experts was reviewing the previous South Korea governments' policies on North Korea, including Seoul's closure of the Kaesong Industrial Complex in February 2016, following which the report was released, (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2017/12/27/0200000000AEN20171227007800315.html) Yonhap News said.
"Moon might not be able to reopen Kaesong right away but he will follow steps toward it in the course of improving South-North Korean relations."
The telephone and fax lines in the western region were cut off from Thursday as the DPRK decided to shut down the joint factory park in its border city of Kaesong, Moon said.
Despite its obvious vulnerabilities, Kaesong had taken on a talismanic image by riding out pretty much every inter-Korean crisis thrown up since it opened for business in 2004.
"Unpardonable is the puppet group's act of totally suspending the operation in (Kaesong), finding fault with the DPRK's H-bomb test and launch of a satellite," the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said, referring to South Korea.
"The Koreans want to get some trade sweetener on Kaesong," a European industry source told Europolitics.
North and South Korea on Monday opened a secretariat to assist a joint management committee established to ensure the smooth operation of a troubled joint industrial zone in the North's border town of Kaesong.