A daily average of more than 600 South Korean workers are currently staying at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea, up from the 500-level in the past several months, according to a Seoul ministry Sunday.
The increase reflects a reduction in military tensions between the two Koreas, officials at the Unification Ministry that handles inter-Korean affairs said.
The ministry's data showed that around 650 South Koreans stay at the industrial park, located just north of the inter-Korean border, per day starting last month.
"With regard to the number of production-related manpower, we are granting permission to stay (there) with more flexibility starting in the middle of April," a ministry official said, requesting anonymity. "The number is expected to gradually increase down the road as well."
He said the ministry's flexible stance is attributable to petitions from companies in the Kaesong complex and the alleviation of security concerns of South Korean workers as inter-Korean tensions have eased a bit.
The animosity between the two Koreas reached a peak when the North torpedoed a South Korean warship in March last year and it shelled a border island eight months later.
Pyongyang, however, has since shifted to a peace offensive.
In March, South Korea's civilian groups resumed humanitarian aid for infants and children in the North.
Seoul slashed the number of South Korean workers staying at the Kaesong complex to as low as 200 a day following the artillery barrage last November. The number jumped to around 500 in early April.
More than 46,000 North Koreans work at about 120 South Korean firms operating in the industrial zone to produce clothes, utensils, watches and other goods.
The factory park, an achievement of the first-ever inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang in 2000, is aimed at combining the South's capital and technology, with the North's cheap labor. (Yonhap)