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Two Koreas resume talks on Kaesong industrial park

Two Koreas resume talks on Kaesong industrial park

Thursday, June 26, 2014, 19:41 GMT+7

SEOUL, June 26 - North and South Korea resumed talks Thursday on managing their Kaesong joint industrial zone after a six-month hiatus caused by rising cross-border tensions, but appeared to make little headway. The two Koreas set up a joint committee to run Kaesong after the zone shut down completely in April for five months as military tensions on the Korean peninsula surged to dangerous levels. After it reopened, both sides agreed that the new committee should meet at least once every quarter, irrespective of the current state of inter-Korean tensions. Since its last meeting on December 19, however, the joint committee has sat idle as tensions rose again with North Korea's angry protests over the South's annual military exercises with the United States. At Thursday's meeting, Seoul urged Pyongyang to speed up the creation of a proper Internet connection and free up movement in and out of Kaesong, which lies 10 kilometres (six miles) over the border in North Korea. The North shunned a clear reply and put forward a different agenda including working conditions for North Korean workers, South Korea's chief delegate Lee Kang-Woo told reporters. The South suggested the two sides meet again in August, while the North promised to give an answer later, he said. Earlier in Seoul, Lee said the meeting would serve as "an opportunity to inspect the tasks of developing and normalising" the complex, which opened in 2004 as a rare symbol of cross-border cooperation. The complex employs more than 50,000 North Koreans in around 120 South Korean light industrial firms.

AFP

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