PYONGYANG, July 25 (Itar-Tass) - Officials of the two Korean states meet in the industrial city Kaesong Thursday in a sixth round of negotiations on the future destiny of the Kaesong industrial area, which is located ten kilometers away from the demilitarized zone separating North Korea and South Korea.
No substantial progress was reached in the previous rounds of talks. The sides recognize the importance of resumption of economic operations in the Kaesong industrial park, which brings lucrative earnings to both countries, yet they are unable so far to agree on the terms that will guarantee its uninterrupted functioning in the future.
As a result, the delegations of the North and South confined the discussion to declaring their positions.
Nonetheless, Korean Central News Agency said in connection with the talks that the delegations of both North and South “show genuine interest in resolving the issue.”
At present, the North Korean authorities do not impede either the entry or the exit of South Korean businessmen from the territory of the industrial park.
Wednesday, Rodon Shimun daily called on South Korea “to take relations between the South and the North out of the current stalemate and to translate the provisions of joint declarations signed in 2000 and in 2007 into life.”
“Fair opportunities for improving the inter-Korean relations have appeared of late and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is taking active steps in that direction,” the newspaper said. However, the South Korean government, which formally speaks for building up trust between the two sides, keeps up the policy of confrontation in a tandem with quarters from the overseas.
During a yet another period of tense relations between the North and the South that aggravated in April, the North Korean authorities said the operations of the industrial zone, which had for many years been an emblem of reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas, would be suspended and the possibility of fully stopping or resuming all the work there would be scrutinized diligently.
Pyongyang officials explained for their step making references to the ostensible willingness of the South Korean regime to turn the zone into a hotbed of confrontation between the fellow-countrymen in the North and the South.
More than a hundred medium-sized South Korean companies were working in Kaesong at the time of suspension of activity. The local industrial facilities employed about 800 citizens of South Korea and about 53,000 educated and highly-qualified North Korean workers, who were engaged in the textiles and clothing production, assembling of watches, and manufacturing of electric household appliances.
The industrial zone was closed for the first time over the nine years of its existence.