South Korea voiced strong regret Tuesday over North Korea's refusal to talk about the future of their joint industrial project, Yonhap News Agency reported.
The North turned down the South's offer of sub-panel discussions on improving business conditions at the Kaesong Industrial Complex located north of the heavily-armed inter-Korean border, an official at the South Korean Unification Ministry was quoted as saying.
The South hopes to facilitate cross-border travel by its citizens and customs procedures and also set up Internet services at the park.
In a recent fax message, however, the North demanded a halt to the scattering of anti-communist leaflets across the border by South Korean civic groups as a precondition for related talks, according to the official.
Pyongyang also took issue with a problem with "maintaining public order" at the zone, claiming that South Koreans often fail to carry proper identification cards and engage in other violations of rules, the report added. The South urged the North to draw a line between the Kaesong issue and political issues.
The North abruptly suspended the operation of the Kaesong complex in March last year. Its operation was resumed half a year later. More than 120 South Korean firms, mostly small-and medium-sized ones, do businesses there, employing around 52,000 North Korean workers.
Seoul has struggled to move forward the inter-Korean project amid Pyongyang's tepid attitude and military tensions.