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South denies inter-Korean liaison office related to resumption of Kaesong Industrial Complex

All Headlines 10:41 June 07, 2018

SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Thursday denied that a liaison office that the two Koreas agreed to open in the North's border town of Kaesong is related to a possible resumption of the long-suspended operation of a joint economic complex there.

The two Koreas agreed last week to open a liaison office in Kaesong "at an early date" in a bid to establish a key communication channel in preparation for increasing cross-border exchanges going forward.

It is seen as a first step to implement promises their leaders made in the historic April and May summits but raised speculation that the move might be a precursor to the resumption of the suspended joint industrial park in the same city.

"The opening of the liaison office is not related to the matter of whether to resume the Kaesong industrial park," a unification ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Kaesong is the western border city in the North where the two Koreas have operated a joint industrial complex since 2004. It was hailed as a successful example of economic cooperation between the two Koreas as it married South Korea's capital with the North's cheap and skillful labor.

South Korea, however, closed operations there in early 2016 and brought its officials and workers back in protest at the North's continued missile and nuclear provocations.

The resumption of the factory operations would only be possible if multilayered sanctions imposed on the North in the wake of its repeated missile and nuclear provocations until late last year are eased.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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