North, South Korea start talks on industrial zone

Delegations from South and North Korea meet on June 10, 2013.

North and South Korea have kicked off talks on reopening the jointly-run Kaesong Industrial Zone, following recent political tension between the two neighbors.

On Saturday, the two Koreas started their talks in Panmunjom, a traditional point of contact on their border.

South Korea’s chief delegate, Suh Ho said, “We will do our best to have this meeting result in greater trust and cooperation between the two sides.”

“Three months have passed since Kaesong came to a halt and damages and difficulties facing businesses are growing,” the South Korean senior Unification Ministry official added.

North Korea’s chief delegate, Pak Chol-Su also said, “There are a multitude of issues to discuss but the issue of preventing damage to facilities from monsoon rains should take precedence.”

In addition to the reopening of the zone, reports say issues like transporting finished products and raw materials caught up at Kaesong to the South are also on the agenda.

“We have clarified our position many times that Kaesong must be developed as an area that follows international standards and where common sense prevails,” said the South’s Unification Ministry spokesman, Kim Hyung-Suk.

On Thursday, Kim said that Seoul had sent a letter to Pyongyang, calling for talks to be held about the complex in the ‘truce village’ of Panmunjom on July 6.

On July 3, the representatives of dozens of firms in Kaesong called on Pyongyang and Seoul to resume talks.

Kaesong is located on the North Korean side of the fortified border and houses the operations of over 120 South Korean companies, employing both South and North Korean workers.

Pyongyang blocked access to the site and withdrew its 53,000 employees in May amid rising tensions with Seoul. South Korea also pulled out the last of its workers on May 3.

Kaesong was launched in 2003 to boost ties between the two neighbors.

By Press TV


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