April 24, 2009 11:24
The government could propose a second meeting to North Korea sometime next week to negotiate the renewal of contracts for the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex.
"We shouldn't delay a decision on the next inter-Korean meeting indefinitely since North Korea has asked us to set the date for the next meeting," a Cheong Wa Dae official said Thursday. "We're going to tell the North of our decision through the Kaesong Industrial Complex management committee next week." But he added it is unclear whether North Korea wants to close the industrial park by presenting extortionate conditions or genuinely intends to negotiate.
A government official said the South's main concern for the next inter-Korean meeting will be the release of a Hyundai Asan staffer at the industrial park who has been held incommunicado there for 25 days.
The government also wants to discuss issues essential for the smooth running of the industrial park, including easy access to Kaesong and the safety of South Korean staff. North Korea has demanded a wage raise for its workers and payment of land use fees at the industrial park.
Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan said Seoul has discussed the Asan staffer's detention with Russia as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stops over in Seoul on Friday after visiting Pyongyang. "We can seek international help" to find a solution, he added.
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