North, South Korea agree on fresh talks on Kaesong

Featured Korea - July 5th, 2013

North and South Korea agreed to hold fresh talks aimed at reopening the shuttered Kaesong industrial zone, in another attempt weeks after proposed high-level dialogue collapsed at the last minute.

The North accepted the proposal made by South Korea’s Unification Ministry to hold the talks at the Panmunjom truce village near the heavily militarized border, reports Al Jazeera.

The announcement came a day after the North restored a cross-border hotline amid pressure from South Korean firms operating in the industrial zone.

“The proposal takes into account the big problems facing the firms (operating in the) Kaesong industrial zone three months after it was suspended and the potential damage anticipated with the start of the monsoon season,” ministry spokesman Kim Kyung-suk said in calling for the talks.

Kaesong is the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation where 53,000 North Koreans worked in 123 South Korean-owned factories.

In a turnabout from weeks of belligerent rhetoric, Pyongyang proposed direct, high-level dialogue with Washington over its nuclear program.