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S.Korea, DPRK open 3rd round of talks on Kaesong industrial park


11:17, July 15, 2013

SEOUL, July 15 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday started the third round of working-level talks at the Kaesong Industrial complex to discuss normalizing operation of the joint industrial zone.

Three-member delegations from both sides started the talks at 10:08 a.m. local time, according to the Ministry of Unification in charge of inter-Korean relations.

Seoul's chief negotiator changed to Kim Kiwoong, director- general of inter-Koran district support directorate at the Unification Ministry, while Pyongyang's delegation was led by Park Chol-su, vice director of the General Bureau of the Central Special Zone Development Guidance.

The previous two rounds of talks failed to reach an agreement due to differences over how to normalize the joint industrial zone in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong.

Seoul has called on Pyongyang to take responsibility for the damages to South Korean companies caused by its unilateral shutdown of the industrial park in April, and provide a clear assurance to prevent recurrence of such a scenario.

South Korea has also demanded the Kaesong industrial zone being developed into an international park by allowing foreign companies to invest there.

"(We) will do our best to normalize the Kaesong complex in a constructive way and reform it into an international one," Seoul' s chief negotiator told reporters before departure.

Pyongyang has blamed Seoul for the suspension, saying that it mainly stemmed from the joint military exercises between Seoul and Washington, urging South Korea to rapidly reopen the industrial park after finishing the maintenance work.

The Kaesong industrial zone, where 123 South Koran companies run factories, has been suspended for more than three months after Pyongyang pulled out 53,000 of its workers in protest against the joint annual military drill between South Korea and the United States.

Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to hold their first high-level official talks in six years in Seoul on June 12, but the dialogue was canceled due to dispute over the ranks of chief delegates.

Pyongyang proposed separate working-level talks on the resumption of tour to the DPRK's scenic Mount Kumgang and reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, but Seoul insisted on focusing on the issue of the Kaesong industrial complex.

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