Kaesong talks resume despite news of execution

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Kaesong talks resume despite news of execution

On the same day that North Korea announced its decision to execute Jang Song-thaek, the uncle of the state’s young leader, the two Koreas agreed to resume high-level talks for developing the jointly run Kaesong Industrial Complex.

“North Korea proposed to hold the fourth meeting of the Joint South-North Committee for the Kaesong complex on Thursday,” Ministry of Unification spokesman Kim Eui-do said at a briefing yesterday.

“We accepted the proposal this morning, without elaborating on the agenda of the talks,” the spokesman added.

The high-level meeting to discuss overall affairs for the factory park, located in the city of Kaesong in North Korean territory, has been halted since relations soured in September, when two Koreas failed to agree on the terms regarding the reunions of war-separated families.

Although tensions have peaked since Jang’s execution, which was reported yesterday through state media, spokesman Kim Eui-do confirmed that politics in North Korea would not affect matters concerning the eight-year-old venture park.

North Korea unilaterally decided to halt operations at the factory complex in April, apparently angered by the latest round of sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council a month before in response to the regime’s announcement that it had conducted its third nuclear test.

“The issue regarding Jang Song-thaek is their internal matter,” the ministry spokesman said. “We are separating that from matters regarding the Kaesong complex, and we expect to do the same in the future.”

Pyongyang also accepted Seoul’s previous request to allow 30 foreign officials and financial experts to visit the complex on Dec. 19.

The delegation is scheduled to attend the Group of 20 Summit in Seoul, which will be held Dec. 18 to Dec. 19, Kim Eui-do said.

They will look around the factory park and have meetings with South Korean businessmen and workers there, he added.

Kim said that both sides have yet to discuss the canceled seminar on foreign investment for the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

BY KIM HEE-JIN [heejin@joongang.co.kr]

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