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S. Korea wants to hold inter-Korean dialogue in Seoul next week


08:21, June 07, 2013

SEOUL, June 6 (Xinhua) -- South Korea said Thursday it wants to hold a ministerial-level dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on June 12 in Seoul in response to DPRK's proposal to hold official talks on reopening a joint industrial zone, according to Yonhap news agency.

"(The government) suggests ministerial-level South-North talks on June 12 in Seoul in order to resolve issues of the Kaesong Industrial Complex, the Mt. Kumgang resort and separated families, " Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae told a news conference.

"We positively view the North's acceptance today of what our government has insistently proposed," said the chief of the ministry dealing with inter-Korean affairs.

Seoul was responding to an offer made by the DPRK earlier in the day to hold inter-governmental talks. South Korea has repeatedly called for negotiations over the suspended joint industrial venture in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong. Pyongyang told Seoul to pick a time and venue for the dialogue.

Ryoo also called on the DPRK to restart the communication channels in order to hold preparatory negotiations for next week's ministerial talks. "I hope holding the talks becomes an opportunity for inter-Korean relations to develop under mutual trust," he said.

The Ministry of Unification said in statement earlier that the South Korean government views the latest proposal by the DPRK in a positive light.

"We hope the talks will become an opportunity to help forge trust," the statement said.

The DPRK proposed holding talks with South Korea on issues including the normalization of the operation in the Kaesong Industrial Zone (KIZ) and the resumption of tour of Mt. Kumgang, the official KCNA news agency reported.

The proposal was made by the DPRK's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) in a special statement issued by its spokesman.

"We propose holding talks between authorities of the north and the south for the normalization of the operation in the KIZ and the resumption of tour of Mt. Kumgang on the occasion of the anniversary of the June 15 joint declaration," said the statement.

The June 15 declaration was issued at the historic 2000 summit meeting between late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong Il. It led to a period of rapprochement between the two sides that saw large scale bilateral cooperation and the promotion of economic ties.

In the statement, the CPRK also proposed realizing joint events to mark the 13th anniversary of the June 15 declaration and jointly commemorating the 41st anniversary of the July 4 joint statement on peaceful reunification in the presence of the authorities of both sides.

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