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S.Korean companies start to bring back goods, materials from Kaesong


14:44, July 12, 2013

SEOUL, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Managers of South Korean companies, which run factories at the Kaesong industrial complex, crossed the heavily armed border on Friday into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to bring back finished goods and raw materials from the suspended industrial park.

"As of 9:00 a.m., 174 managers and 123 vehicles of companies with factories at the Kaesong complex crossed the military demarcation line (MDL) to take supplies out of the industrial zone, " Kim Hyung-seok, Unification Ministry spokesman, told reporters at a briefing.

Personnel from a total of 45 companies in the electronics, machinery and chemical sectors started to go through necessary procedures for entering the joint industrial park at about 8:00 a. m. in the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) office in Paju, 50 kilometers northwest of Seoul.

The personnel and vehicles were scheduled to cross the MDL back to Seoul at 5 p.m. with goods and materials taken from the Kaesong complex, which was suspended for more than three months.

The industrial zone, where 123 South Korean companies run factories, came to a halt in April 9 when Pyongyang banned around 53,000 of its workers from reporting to work amid escalating tension on the Korean Peninsula. Seoul also withdrew its personnel in response.

Companies in the electronics, machinery and chemical industries planned to bring home goods and material from Kaesong for two days through Saturday. Those in the textile and shoe-manufacturing industries will be allowed to visit the zone for two days through next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the DPRK shelved talks on Mount Kumgang Tour and family reunion to pay more attention to the ongoing talks about how to normalize the Kaesong industrial park. Pyongyang sent such stance on late Thursday via communication channels at the truce village of Panmunjom, according to the Unification Ministry.

Pyongyang proposed separate working-level talks with Seoul on Wednesday to discuss the resumption of Mount Kumgang Tour and reunion of families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korea replied that it agreed to hold talks on the family reunion, but rejected dialogue overtures on the Mount Kumgang resort, saying that it would be "desirable" to focus on the ongoing talks to normalize operation of the Kaesong industrial park.

Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to hold the third round of working- level talks on July 15 at the Kaesong industrial zone on how to prevent recurrence of unilateral shutdown of the joint industrial park.

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