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DPRK, ROK to hold 7th round of talks on Kaesong future

August 14, 2013, 4:28 UTC+3
All the previous talks came to setting out the positions of the sides and ended without results
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Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

Photo EPA/ITAR-TASS

PYONGYANG, August 14 (Itar-Tass) - Representatives of the Democratic Peope's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) hold a seventh round of talks on the future of the Kaesong industrial complex. The meeting will take place in that industrial city which is situated in the territory of the People's Republic, 10 km from the Demilitarized Zone.

All the previous talks came to setting out the positions of the sides and ended without results. Pyongyang regards the South Korean delegation's conduct as "insincere and haughty".

Nevertheless, last week, the DPRK suggested holding "without preconditions" yet another round of talks on normalising work in the industrial zone. The respective initiative was made public by an official of the Committee for a Peaceful Reunification of Korea. He stated Pyongyang's readiness to open the Kaesong complex to South Korean businessmen. The statement pointed out that the authorities of the DPRK "will bring North Korean workers back to the Kaesong-based enterprises; the safety of South Korean personnel will be guaranteed, and protection of property ensured".

Within the period of yet another aggravation of relations between the DPRK and ROK on April 8, Pyongyang announced that the operation of the industial complex "will be suspended" and the question of "its closure or a resumption of its operation will be thoroughly studied". Pyongyang stated that this had been prompted by an "intention of the South Korean regime to turn this zone into a seat of confrontation between compatriots in the North and South of the Korean Peninsula". Working in Kaesong at the time were more than 800 citizens of ROK and about 53,000 North Koreans who engaged in sewing garments and assembling watches and household electrical appliaces. Work in the industrial complex, which was regarded as the symbol of reconciliation and cooperation between the North and South,w was suspended for the first time in nine years of its existence.

In the run-up to yet another round of talks on Kaesong, the DPRK's central newspaper published a series of articles calling on the other side to settle all inter-Korean matters through dialogue and cooperation. "The time has come to move from confrontation and suspicionness to reconciliation and mutual trust," emphasized Rodong Sinmun, newspaper of the Central Commmittee of the Workers' Party of Korea.

Expert opinion is that the sides at the talks on Kaesong will be able to arrive at a common denominator in the long run, considering the importance of this economic facility which had been bringing a substantial revenue for many years. They will be successful if the delegations give up an uncompromising approach in discussing the quesrion of terms for a reopening of th complex and do not go beyond thespecific economic and financial themes connected with it.

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