Seoul Proposes Kaesong Talks

      May 15, 2013 09:45

      President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday called for talks with North Korea to discuss bringing South Korean products and raw materials out of the closed Kaesong Industrial Complex.

      The Unification Ministry later the same day suggested to North Korea that officials from both sides meet in the border truce village of Panmunjom.

      "I hope the Unification Ministry will propose talks with North Korea to bring back products and raw materials left behind at Kaesong as early as possible and reduce the damage for companies," Park said in a Cabinet meeting.

      But a Cheong Wa Dae official said the real objective is to engage the North in dialogue. "This is part of her trust-building process of dealing firmly with provocations but always leaving open the door for talks," the official said.

      Park recently outlined the strategy in Washington.

      North Korea has so far rejected any proposal of talks from Seoul, but Park is apparently determined to keep trying.

      Asked whether North Korea has shown any signs that it wants to talk, a Unification Ministry officials said no. But he added, "We simply believe the government should take the lead in resolving this problem."

      But Park did not tell the ministry in advance that she would call on it to act, and while the Cabinet meeting was still underway in the morning, a senior ministry official told reporters it was up to North Korea to make the first move.

      Fifteen minutes later, when the meeting ended and the report reached him, the official looked visibly surprised.

      The ministry then made the offer in the afternoon.

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