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North Korea and South Korea start talks on Kaesong recovery

August 14, 2013, 7:24 UTC+3
The previous six rounds of talks yielded no results because of the difference in the positions of the two countries
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

SEOUL, August 14 (Itar-Tass) - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Wednesday began the 7th round of talks in the border city of Kaesong on recovery of inter-Korean industrial complex operation which has been stopped for four months now.

The previous six rounds of talks yielded no results because of the difference in the positions of the two countries on who is responsible for its closure and on the problem of guarantees of its uninterrupted operation in the future, the Yonhap news agency points out.

According to the ROK Unification Ministry, the talks started at 10:00 local time. Officials of the Ministry in charge of the entire spectrum of inter-Korean relations said the ROK delegation does not intend to agree to uncertain guarantees and will insist that "it is essential for the North to keep its promises".

Seoul seeks to secure that the possibility of a one-sided closure of the industrial complex by the DPRK authorities, as was the case early in April, is ruled out.

The DPRK denies its implication in the closure and does not go so far to giving such guarantees. In so doing, Yonhap points out, Pyongyang manifested striving for a continuation of the talks and made it clear that it is ready to discuss the question of "internationalizing" the Kaesong complex.

123 South Korean companies operated there manufacturing various products, including clothes, footwear, electronic devices, and crockery. The Kaesong complex is the product of the historic meeting between the leaders of the two Koreas in 2000. Until recently it was the only operational example of economic cooperation between the North and South.

According to the DPRK's version, in April, the admission to the complex for 53,000 North Korean workers was barred due to "political and military provocation" on the part of ROK.

Analysts regard Wednesday's round as a decisive one for the future of this inter-Korean joint venture.

The sides also differ over the date of resuming operation of the complex. ROK's opinion is that accords about guarantees must be buttressed up by legislative and administrative changes in managing the operation of the complex, for which additional talks will be needed. This, in its turn, would lead to a postponement of reopening of the industrial park.

Pyongyang insists on an immediate resumption of the park's operation.

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