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Koreas begin talks on joint factory park

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Seoul, June 26 :

South Korea and North Korea started their first talks after six months Thursday in Kaesong, North Korea’s border town, on the running of the inter-Korean factory park, Seoul’s unification ministry said.

Six South Korean delegates crossed the inter-Korean land border into Kaesong, some 10 km north of the military demarcation line, and began talks at around 10 a.m. as scheduled, Xinhua reported citing the ministry.

Korea South NorthThe two Koreas agreed last year to hold the joint management committee meeting every quarter, but it has been halted since December last year amid rising tensions on the Korean peninsula following the joint military exercise between South Korea and the US in February.

“It will be an opportunity for a comprehensive review on productive normalisation of the Kaesong industrial zone,” chief South Korean delegate Lee Kang-woo told reporters before heading to the dialogue venue.

Lee said: “The delegation would focus, during the dialogue, on the constant passage of South Korean workers to and from the inter-Korean factory park and introduction of internet connectivity.”

The two Koreas have test-run the electronic passage system via radio frequency identification (RFID) since January. South Korea aimed to operate the system constantly.

Seoul has also called for early introduction of internet connectivity at the joint factory park.

The electronic passage system will allow South Korean workers to visit the Kaesong industrial complex and return home at any time on days when they are permitted to visit the site.

Currently, South Korea should fax a list of workers to North Korea – a day before their trip to the joint industrial zone. North Korea has allowed only those on the list to travel to the zone during a designated time.

The Kaesong industrial complex, the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean economic cooperation, is home to 120 South Korean small companies that produce mostly labour-intensive products such as shoes and garments.

(IANS)