South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday called for reaching a sustainable agreement at the ongoing working-level talks between Seoul and Pyongyang on reopening the jointly operated factory park in Kaesong.
"Inter-Korean working-level talks were held four times over the Kaesong industrial zone issue, but no agreement has been reached yet to normalize it constructively," Park told the meeting with senior presidential secretaries. The working-level talks focused on the normalization of the suspended industrial park in the DPRK' s border town of Kaesong, but the fact should be kept in mind that the dialogue will serve as "an important basis for principles and frameworks for establishing new inter-Korean relations," said Park.
Park urged Pyongyang to recognize that it would be in its own interest to create stable conditions for investment by providing a clear assurance for preventing recurrence of its unilateral shutdown and devising legal, institutional tools conforming to international standards.
The president said she was looking forward to a meaningful, sustainable agreement produced from the ongoing fifth round of talks.
Three-member delegations from both sides were under way of the fifth-round of talks on reopening the jointly run factory park in Kaesong, just north of the heavily armed border. They ended the second plenary session at 12:22 p.m. local time before resuming the dialogue from 2 p.m.
Earlier this month, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed in principle to normalize operations of the joint industrial park, but they have been at odds over how to reopen the complex in the next three rounds of talks.
Seoul has called on Pyongyang to provide a clear assurance to prevent recurrence of its unilateral shutdown of the complex, while demanding the joint industrial zone should be developed into an international factory park by allowing foreign companies to invest there.
Park Chol-su, Pyongyang's chief delegate and vice director of the General Bureau of the Central Special Zone Development Guidance, said in an introductory remarks before starting the dialogue that he was interested in the views of the South Korean leadership over the Kaesong issue.
The top negotiator stressed that the DPRK's leadership has been in a clear favor of the normalization of the joint industrial park.
The Kaesong industrial zone, where 123 South Korean companies run factories, has been suspended since early April when Pyongyang pulled out around 53,000 of its workers in protest against the joint annual military drill between Seoul and Washington.