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S.Korea, DPRK resume talks to reopen Kaesong industrial complex


10:31, July 17, 2013

SEOUL, July 17 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) resumed working-level talks on Wednesday to discuss reopening the Kaesong industrial complex that has been suspended for more than three months.

Three-member delegations from both sides met again at the joint industrial park in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, just north of the heavily armed border, starting the fourth round of such talks as of 10 a.m. local time as scheduled.

In the previous three rounds of talks, Seoul and Pyongyang failed to reach an agreement due to different views over conditions for normalizing operations. At the third round of talks held on Monday, both sides exchanged respective drafts, but it fell short of striking a deal.

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 an incident.

South Korea also demanded the Kaesong industrial zone being developed into an international factory park by allowing foreign companies to invest there, urging the DPRK to devise legal and administrative assurances related to safety of South Korean personnel and protection for assets invested in the complex.

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

"We will make efforts to hold earnest and practical talks to solve inter-Korean issues," Kim Kiwoong, Seoul's chief delegate and director-general of the Unification Ministry's inter-Korean district support directorate, told reporters before heading to Kaesong.

Pyongyang delegation will be led by Park Chol-su, vice director of the General Bureau of the Central Special Zone Development Guidance.

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

Seoul and Pyongyang sought 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 during the 1950-53 Korean War, but Seoul insisted on focusing on the issue of the Kaesong industrial complex.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:YaoChun、Liang Jun)

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