Koreans begin talks on re-opening joint industrial park

WAM SEOUL: South and North Korea began talks Saturday aimed at re-opening their joint industrial complex that has been shuttered for three months amid heightened tensions, DPA reported today.

Officials met at the neutral border village of Panmunjom to discuss the future of the suspended Kaesong factory compound, Seoul's Ministry of Unification was quoted by the news agency as saying.

The two sides agreed on Thursday to begin talks to iron out differences over the complex, which provides jobs and foreign exchange to the North and cheap labour to southern industries that invest in the project.

The compound located about 10 kilometres north of the border has been closed since Pyongyang pulled out all its 53,000 workers at the end of April. The last group of about 800 South Korean managers left the zone on May 3.

The park opened in 2004 as part of reconciliation agreements signed when the neighbours were on better terms.

Tensions on the peninsula have risen since North Korea carried out its third nuclear test on February 12, triggering condemnation from the international community and more sanctions against the reclusive state.



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