Seoul Calls Pyongyang to Account for Kaesong Shutdown

      July 10, 2013 13:40

      A day before inter-Korean talks scheduled at the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a Unification Ministry official on Tuesday made it clear that North Korea is to solely blame for the shutdown of the industrial park and that it can reopen only if the North accepts responsibility and promises to prevent a recurrence.

      "We never suggested that the industrial park be closed, but the North unilaterally restricted access and shut it down," the official said. He stressed that it is important that the North promises to prevent any similar incident.

      But he also said "urgent matters" related to the industrial park have already been settled. That apparently referred to an agreement the two Koreas reached at their meeting in the truce village of Panmunjom on Saturday and Sunday. The agreement allows South Korean manufacturers check and repair their facilities and equipment there and collect finished goods and raw materials.

      The government wants to focus on persuading the North to revise relevant regulations in the new talks.

      It will ask for provisions to be included in an inter-Korean investment guarantee agreement and the North's laws on the Kaesong complex, so that Pyongyang cannot unilaterally pull workers out of the zone.

      The government will also seek to revise regulations covering the issues of travel, communications and customs clearance based on global standards.

      Meanwhile, South Korean manufacturers will also travel to Kaesong to check their factories there. Staffers of 62 machinery, electronics, and metal companies will go to the industrial park on Wednesday and another 61 manufacturers on Thursday.

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