Koreas begin talks on reopening joint industrial zone
Iran Press TV
Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:25AM GMT
South and North Korea have started talks on the reopening of the joint Kaesong industrial zone, where work has been on a hiatus since an escalation of tensions between Pyongyang and Seoul.
Delegates from Seoul and Pyongyang met on Wednesday to hold talks aimed at restarting activities at the site’s factories, which have been suspended for three months.
“We'll do our best to ensure this meeting will lead to restoration of mutual trust and larger cooperation,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry chief delegate Suh Ho said on Wednesday.
The talks come days after Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to reopen the industrial zone.
“The weekend marked the first step, but the difficult part starts now,” said a South Korean Unification Ministry official.
On July 3, the representatives of dozens of firms in Kaesong called on Pyongyang and Seoul to resume talks.
Kaesong is located on the North Korean side of the fortified border with South. Over 120 South Korean companies, employing both South and North Korean workers, are located in the industrial zone.
Kaesong was launched in 2003 in an effort to boost ties between the two Koreas.
Pyongyang blocked access to the site and withdrew its 53,000 employees in May amid rising tensions with Seoul. South Korea pulled out the last of its workers on May 3.
The Korean Peninsula has been locked in a cycle of military rhetoric over the past few months.
The rhetoric escalated when the United States and South Korea held joint military exercises in April, with the participation of US nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers. North Korea censured the drills and warned Washington and Seoul against a “preemptive attack,” which could develop into an “all-out war.”
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