South Korea called on North Korea Wednesday to put forward strong safeguards against another unilateral shutdown of an inter-Korean industrial complex that has remained idle for three months.
Seoul’s demand came at a working-level meeting held in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, which is a follow-up to weekend talks at the neutral border village of Panmunjom where the two sides agreed in principle to normalize operation at the joint venture.
All operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex near the heavily fortified inter-Korean border ground to a halt after Pyongyang unilaterally withdrew its 53,000 workers hired by the 123 South Korean plants there on April 9.
In the keynote speech at the morning session of the meeting that ran for 25 minutes, South Korea’s chief representative Suh Ho outlined South’s plans for “constructive development” of the joint venture. He pointed out that for Kaesong to grow it must become a “safe” place to do business and where free business activities are guaranteed.
“The South wants the North to announce solid actions that will convince everyone that it has no intention of taking unilateral action to prevent movement or pull out its laborers in the future,” he said.
The official, the director of the exchange and cooperation bureau at the Ministry of Unification, also said that there is a need to allow foreign companies to invest in the park and to transform it into an international industrial region.
The unification ministry said the 23-member South Korean delegation crossed the demilitarized zone, with authorities saying problems with the communication line caused the start of talks, originally slated to be delayed.