Kaesong is a city in North Hwanghae Province in the southern part of North Korea, a former Directly-Governed City, and the capital of Korea during the Taebong kingdom and subsequent Goryeo dynasty. The city is near the Kaesong Industrial Region close to the border with South Korea and contains the remains of the Manwoldae palace. Called Songdo while it was the ancient capital of Goryeo, the city prospered as a trade centre that produced Korean ginseng. Kaesong now functions as the DPRK’s light industry centre. It was also known by the Japanese pronunciation of its name, “Kaijō”, during the Japanese occupation from 1910 to 1945.
Due to the city’s proximity to the border with South Korea, Kaesong hosts cross-border economic exchanges between the two countries as well as the jointly-run Kaesong Industrial Region.
As of 2009 the city had a population of 192,578
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