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SEOUL, August 5 (Itar-Tass) - The Republic of Korea on Sunday repeated its proposal to North Korea to hold negotiations on normalisation of the work of the inter-Korean industrial complex in the border city of Kaesong.
“If North Korea truly considers the Kaesong Industrial Complex to be a touchstone of inter-Korean relations, it shouldn’t stay silent but demonstrate its will through responsible words and actions,” Kim Hyung-suk, a spokesman of Seoul’s Ministry of Unification, said in a statement. This ministry is in charge of the entire spectrum of relations between the North and the South.
The call comes a week after Seoul proposed a seventh round of talks on reopening the complex in the North’s border city of Kaesong. North Korea has yet to respond to that offer.
“Our people, who wish to see North Korea’s sincerity, are reaching the limit of their patience,” the spokesman said.
Before that the two countries delegations held six meetings during which the discussions on the opening of the complex yielded no result.
The operation of the Kaesong complex, where 53 thousand North Korean workers were producing consumer goods at factories, opened by 123 South Korean firms, was stopped at the order of Pyongyang in early April, 2013. Then the DPRK motivated this step by the reaction to the annual US-South Korean war games.
Negotiations on the Kaesong complex yielded no result due to the fact that the parties failed to coordinate their approached. Seoul insists that Pyongyang should provide guarantees that the DPRK will not unilaterally close the inter-Korean joint venture in the future.
The North Korean side demands the immediate and unconditional resumption of the work of the Kaesong complex, which was bringing tangible foreign currency earnings to Pyongyang.
A week ago, in its proposal to hold the “final negotiations” Seoul warned that it would have to take “serious measures” if North Korea does not provide the requested guarantees.
These statements of the South evoked speculation about the possibility of complete closure of the complex, which until recently has been the only existing example of economic cooperation between the two Koreas, the Yonhap news agency writes in this connection.
Although South Korean firms lost 750 billion won (668.3 million US dollars) due to the four-month idleness of the complex, the South Korean government transferred to the DPRK 13 million dollars for wages unpaid to the North Korean personnel for four months and provided loans worth 80 billion won (71.3 million dollars) to the sustaining losses South Korean businessmen.