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S. Korea says top priority in talks with DPRK lies in recurrence prevention


14:39, July 19, 2013

SEOUL, July 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's top priority in talks with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on reopening the Kaesong industrial complex lies in preventing recurrence of the unilateral shutdown, Seoul's Unification Ministry said Friday.

"The most important thing is recurrence prevention. At the core is the point that this incident must never happen again," Kim Hyung-seok, spokesman of the Unification Ministry in charge of inter-Korean dialogue, told reporters at a press briefing.

The fourth round of working-level talks, held on Wednesday at the joint industrial park in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, ended once again without any agreement reached.

Differences remained over conditions for normalizing operations. Seoul called on Pyongyang to provide legal and administrative assurances to prevent recurrence of its unilateral shutdown, while the DPRK urged South Korea to rapidly reopen the industrial park that has been suspended for more than three months.

The Kaesong industrial zone, where 123 South Korean companies run factories, grounded to a halt after Pyongyang pulled out about 53,000 of its workers from reporting to work in April in protest against the joint annual military drill between Seoul and Washington.

South Korea has also demanded the Kaesong industrial zone being developed into an international factory park by allowing foreign companies to invest there. "We are sitting down at the negotiating table with the direction in mind that the Kaesong industrial complex be developed into an internationally competitive one," said spokesman Kim.

Seoul and Pyongyang planned to resume their talks over the fate of the Kaesong industrial zone next Monday in Kaesong, just north of the heavily armed border.

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