Fourth Kaesong talks go nowhere

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Fourth Kaesong talks go nowhere


Kim Ki-woong, left, South Korean chief negotiator, faces his North Korean counterpart Pak Chol-su, right, as the two sides kick off their fourth-round of working-level talks at the Kaesong Industrial Complex yesterday. [NEWSIS]

The two Koreas failed to reach agreement on concrete steps to reopen the idled Kaesong Industrial Complex at their fourth round of talks yesterday.

They will hold a fifth meeting of relatively low-level negotiators in Kaesong on Monday.

“The most important matter is prevention [of another shutdown in the future], but North Korea didn’t show progress in its position,” said Kim Ki-woong, South Korea’s chief negotiator, at a press briefing yesterday after the failed talks. “There was still a big gap between the two Koreas over how to arrange some legal measures for ‘constructive normalization.’?”

Kim said North Korea proposed a draft agreement but the South didn’t accept it.

During the talks between 10 a.m. and 5:23 p.m. in the Kaesong park, neither side changed its earlier positions.

South Korea wants the North to guarantee the safety of Southern business owners operating in the complex and promise not to hold the jointly-run factory park hostage for its political gains when inter-Korean relations deteriorate. It wasn’t some legal mechanism to prevent another closure in the future.

Pyongyang repeated its demand for immediate resumption of business at the complex without preconditions, according to Park Soo-jin, who briefed reporters on the talks in Kaesong yesterday.

As the talks proceeded, 227 South Korean businessmen visited the complex yesterday to remove 732 metric tons of materials from the park. They were mostly running small-sized factories or convenience stores or shops for businessmen.

The retrieval of goods from the idled complex by Southern businessmen is expected to continue until Friday, according to the Unification Ministry.

Some owners told the Joint Press Corps of South Korea yesterday that they need more time to pull materials out.

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