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Silent N. Korea blames Seoul for Kaesong talks breakdown

All Headlines 10:46 August 06, 2013
Kaesong complex entrepreneurs in agony

Silent N. Korea blames Seoul for Kaesong talks breakdown

SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea continued to ignore South Korea's proposal for final talks on the normalization of a suspended joint industrial park on Tuesday, blaming Seoul for the breakdown in stalled negotiations.

The Ministry of Unification, which handles cross-border affairs, said the communist country did not send any message to the South regarding the dialogue offer when first daily contact was made at 9 a.m. via the communications line that runs through the neutral truce village of Panmunjom.

Over a week ago, Seoul issued an "ultimatum" demanding the settling of all outstanding issues holding up negotiations on the future of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The unification ministry said Sunday it was losing patience with Pyongyang's unwillingness to make known its position on offering safeguards.

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae called for the final talks on July 28 after six rounds of working-level negotiations ended without the two Koreas reaching an agreement on preconditions for resuming operations at the complex.

The two sides have made no headway on the crucial issue of safeguards to prevent another work stoppage at the industrial park in the North Korean border town.

South Korea has insisted that Pyongyang must give solid guarantees that it will not take steps to close the complex again, while the North rejected such demands and called for the park's immediate resumption. Pyongyang also warned that its military may take control of the complex if no understanding is reached.

Gov't-ruling party meet over Kaesong complex

All operations at Kaesong came to a screeching halt in early April after the North unilaterally pulled its workers from the complex amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The shutdown of Kaesong, which first started churning out products in late 2004, has cost the 123 South Korean companies with factories in the park upwards of 1.05 trillion won (US$934 million).

Concerning the deadlocked talks, the Rodong Sinmun, an organ of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, said in an editorial that South Korean authorities lacked the will to actively seek South-North dialogue and cooperation.

The editorial monitored in Seoul said failure to make a breakthrough at the Kaesong talks held in July is the inevitable result of this lack of will, the paper stressed, making clear the North blamed the South for the current impasse.

"Seoul talks about 'trust' but it is not interested in building inter-Korean confidence and is only focused on working with foreign powers (to pressure the North)," the daily said. "Such a ploy to undermine the North will hinder any meaningful progress in South-North relations.


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