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PYONGYANG, July 18 (Itar-Tass) - The fourth round of talks on the fate of the Kaesong Industrial Complex “has ended without result through the fault of the South Korean side that took an insincere and unfair position,” the North Korean official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday.
According to the report the DPRK delegation at a working meeting held in Kaesong on Wednesday came up with concrete proposals for the resumption of the work of this industrial zone in the shortest possible time. Pyongyang considers it necessary “to refrain from any military and political actions that can disrupt the normal operation of the Kaesong complex.” In addition, it proposes to “create a special mechanism” that would guarantee “smooth functioning of the industrial zone, security of personnel working there and the protection of investments and property.”
However, according to KCNA, the South Korean delegation “started to deliberately create obstacles during the negotiations holding only North Korea responsible for the crisis” in Kaesong. Nevertheless, the sides decided to hold the fifth round of talks on July 22, the agency informs.
At times of tension between North and South Korea, southern access to the Kaesong industrial zone has been restricted. On April 3, 2013, during the 2013 Korean crisis, North Korea blocked access to the region to all South Korean citizens. On April 8, 2013, the North Korean government removed all 53,000 North Korean workers from the Kaesong industrial park, which effectively shut down all activities. On July 6, both Koreas agreed that the region should be reopened.
At previous meetings, the sides failed to agree on the conditions of opening the industrial zone, which has been idle for more than three months. According to North Korean media reports, the negotiations yielded no result “because of the position of the South Korean delegation,” which tried to place on Pyongyang the responsibility for the unexpected shutting down on April 9 of the complex, which for many years has been a symbol of reconciliation and cooperation between the North and the South.
In the period of another sharp deterioration of relations between the DPRK and South Korea in April, Pyongyang announced that the operation of the complex would be temporarily stopped, and the issue of the closure or reopening of the facility would be thoroughly studied. The reason for this, according to Pyongyang, is “the South Korean regime’s intention to turn this zone into a hotbed of confrontation between the compatriots in the North and South of the Korean Peninsula."