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North and South Korea began talks on reopening joint industrial zone

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North and South Korea began talks on Saturday on reopening the jointly run industrial zone. The zone is seen as the last remaining symbol of the reconciliation between the two countries.

Image from: www.wggb.com

Image from: www.wggb.com

The working-level meeting convened Saturday in the truce city of Panmunjom, in the heavily-guarded demilitarized zone dividing the two foes.

In an earlier gesture reported Wednesday, Seoul said Pyongyang agreed to allow South Korean business people to inspect their equipment at the complex. Yoo Chang-guen, a spokesman for the Corporate Association of Kaesong Industrial Complex, told VOA the companies want to protect their equipment from damage during the rainy season.

The association also called on Seoul to negotiate with Pyongyang on reviving the complex.

Saturday’s talks come after a protocol disagreement last month resulted in the cancellation of what would have been the first senior-level meeting in years.

The industrial park was an important source of revenue for North Korea and one of the last remaining examples of inter-Korean cooperation.

The North withdrew its 53,000 workers from Kaesong in April and blocked access by the South Korean companies who used it to produce industrial goods with low-cost North Korean labor. South Korea later pulled its managers from the facility.

Technical problems delayed the start of the talks at the border truce village of Panmunjom for almost two hours as telephone lines to the South needed repairs, the Unification Ministry in Seoul said.

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