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S Korea, DPRK wrap up latest talks over joint venture
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16:41, June 19, 2009

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The third round of government-level talks between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s delegation, held in Kaesong, was wrapped up amid escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The two sides, who met after the previous talks held on April 21 and June 11, had two sessions of talks, in the morning and in the afternoon, but did not narrow their differences on the thorny issues, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said.

South Korea and the DPRK, on the other hand, agreed to continue their discussions on July 2.

The talks came after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called Pyongyang's demands "unacceptable" in a summit with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington earlier this week.

Earlier in the morning, the 14-member delegation from South Korea crossed the northern border of the country to DPRK's Kaesong where the talks were to be held for the third time since the inauguration of the Lee Myung-bak regime.

Before crossing the border, Kim Young-tak, head of the delegation, said that the South Korean representative will mainly focus on the issue of a South Korean worker who has been detained in the DPRK since late March for publicly denouncing the regime.

Kim said that they will also notify the DPRK of their clear position that South Korea will not accept the demands that the DPRK had made in the second round of talks.

The morning-session talks started at 10 a.m. (0100 GMT) to last for one hour and 40 minute, during which the South Korean side raised the issue of the detained employee while explaining in detail why South Korea can't accept the DPRK's earlier demands.

The DPRK, while still holding onto their demands, strongly denounced the president's comment that called their requests "unacceptable," during the South Korea-U.S. summit.

During the one-hour-long afternoon session, starting at 03:15 p.m. (0615 GMT), the DPRK said they had an intent of lift traffic curfew on joint industrial park, but did not provide any information of the detained worker, which South Korea strongly asked for.

South Korea, meanwhile, propose joint survey of foreign industrial parks with the DPRK.

Earlier last week, South Korea and the DPRK held their second round of talks with the DPRK claiming that South Korea should quadruple monthly wages for DPRK workers to 300 U.S. dollars from the current level of 70 to 80 U.S. dollars, as well as raise land rent to 500 million U.S. dollars, a 31-times increase from the current 16 million-U.S. dollar fee.

The Kaesong complex, where 106 South Korean companies operate with some 40,000 DPRK workers, makes a variety of products, from electronics and watches to shoes and utensils.

The park, located in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, was jointly set up as a reconciliation project of the two sides.

Source: Xinhua

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