Saturday, 18 January 2020

South Korea Proposes 'Final Talks' to North for Kaesong  

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  • Kaesong industry complex. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

    Kaesong industry complex. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

    TEMPO.CO, Seoul - South Korea is on the brink of frustration in attempting to find a solution with North Korea. On Monday, it sent an official message to North Korea offering "final talks" to discuss the normalization of a suspended inter-Korean industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong. 

    The Ministry of Unification, which handles cross-border relations, said the message was sent via the communication line at the neutral border village of Panmunjom and was received by North Korea. It said no date or location for the talks was proposed. 

    North Korea has yet to respond to this proposal with the South sitting on the edge of its seat awaiting the north’s reaction. The message sent follows comments made by Seoul's Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae on Sunday, who called for a conclusive meeting to iron out all outstanding differences that were not resolved during the previous six rounds of negotiations held throughout the month. 

    Seoul is insistent on demanding safeguards to prevent another recurrence of a unilateral shutdown, while Pyongyang has insisted on the park's immediate resumption and refused to take blame for the current stoppage that is estimated to have resulted in losses up to 1.05 trillion won (US$946 million) to South Korean firms. 

    As many as 123 South Korean firms operate in the complex that was opened in 2003. The area provides work for 53,000 North Korean laborers.