July 29, 2013 11:42
South Korea has proposed "final" talks with the North on the fate of the idle Kaesong joint industrial zone.
Ryoo Kihl-Jae, Seoul's unification minister in charge of cross-border affairs, told reporters Sunday that a formal proposal would be sent Monday to Pyongyang. He did not elaborate on when the talks might be held.
Ryoo repeated that Seoul wants Pyongyang to accept responsibility for the unilateral closure of the facility and a guarantee that such an action will not reoccur. Otherwise, he said South Korea might end its cooperation in the industrial zone.
Pyongyang has denied responsibility for the shutdown and said its hand was forced by South Korean intimidation, in particular, joint military exercises with the United States.
Ryoo also announced that Seoul would approve five shipments of humanitarian aid to the North, in an apparent bid to attract North Korea to the talks.
The Kaesong complex has been closed since April, when North Korea pulled out its 53,000 workers as part of an angry response to international sanctions after its February nuclear test.
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