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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

South Korea Proposes Talks with North over Kaesong - Agency

RIA Novosti

06:59 25/04/2013

SEOUL, April 25 (RIA Novosti) - South Korea on Thursday proposed holding talks with North Korea over a joint industrial site that has been idle since the start of April amid growing inter-Korean tensions, South Korean media reported.

"We make an official offer to North Korea to hold a working-level meeting to discuss ways of normalizing the suspended Kaesong Industrial Complex and providing humanitarian aid to South Korean workers there," Yonhap news agency quoted the Unification Ministry as saying in a statement.

Seoul will have to take serious measures should Pyongyang fail to respond to the offer by Friday afternoon, the statement said.

North Korea has denied entry to Kaesong to South Korean workers, saying Seoul used the joint project to insult the North's leaders. A total of 176 South Korean nationals, who chose to remain at the industrial site in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, are thought to have only small amounts of food and supplies.

According to Yonhap, all operations at Kaesong were suspended on April 9, when Pyongyang pulled out all of its 53,000 staff working for the 123 South Korean companies. Six days before, the North banned South Korean personnel from entering the complex.

Tensions have risen sharply on the Korean Peninsula since December, when North Korea tested a long-range Taepodong 2 missile, and in February carried out its third nuclear test.

The UN responded with sanctions. The start of joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States last month further irritated the North, which threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on the US mainland, as well as on US forces in the region.

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