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North and South Korea to hold 1st session of Kaesong joint management panel

September 02, 2013, 1:03 UTC+3

Members of the new joint committee will gather once a quarter

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PYONGYANG, September 2 (Itar-Tass) - Representatives of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Monday will hold the first session of the joint committee responsible for the operation of the Industrial Zone in Kaesong (IZK).

Setting up such a committee was a practical step in implementation of the bilateral agreement on resuming operation in the IZK. The parties reached an agreement on August 14 after seven rounds of complex and protracted talks. The meetings took place in the Kaesong industrial city located in DPRK's territory north of the Demilitarized Zone.

Members of the IZK management committee will gather once a quarter. Several subcommittees would be created within the committee's structure to tackle matters concerning personnel, protection of investments, communications channels operation, customs control, and measures to raise the competitiveness of its output on the world markets.

A permanently functioning secretariat in Kaesong is also planned to be established. At Monday's session, the negotiators are expected to determine a specific timeframe for a resumption of the operation of the industrial complex which has been at a standstill for more than three months.

At the peak of yet another aggravation of relations between the DPRK and ROK, Pyongyang announced on April 8 that the operation of the complex "will be suspended" and that the question of "closure or resumption of its operation will be thoroughly studied". Pyongyang stated that this was prompted by an "intention of the South Korean regime to turn the zone into a seat of confrontation between compatriots in the north and south of the Korean Peninsula".

More than 800 citizens of ROK and about 53,000 North Koreans worked in Kaesong. They engaged in sewing clothes, in assembly of watches and household electrical appliances. In the complex, which was reckoned a symbol of reconciliation and cooperation between Pyongyang and Seoul, the work was suspended for the first time in nine years of its existence.

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