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Koreas to hold talks on upgrading joint factory park next week

Koreas to hold talks on upgrading joint factory park next week

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Published : 2013-12-13 15:20
Updated : 2013-12-13 15:20

South and North Korea agreed to hold working-level talks next week to discuss ways to upgrade their joint factory park in the North Korean border city of Kaesong, a Seoul official said Friday.

The fourth meeting of the Seoul-Pyongyang joint management committee on the Kaesong Industrial Complex will be held on Thursday inside the complex, Seoul's unification ministry spokesman Kim Eyi-do said in a briefing.

The agreement was made after the North proposed the date and the South accepted it, he said.

On the same day next week, a group of about 30 foreign representatives from the so-called G-20 nations and international finance organizations will take a tour of the Kaesong factory park, the spokesman said, citing Pyongyang's approval of the Seoul-proposed plan.

The foreign delegations include vice ministers from the world's 20 leading economies as well as officials from the International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank, who will be visiting Seoul for a conference to be held in the same week, according to the official.

"It's a good opportunity in which foreign figures, who have influence to help (North Korea's) foreign investment attraction, raise their understanding of the Kaesong Industrial Park. It will also contribute to the Kaesong park's globalization," Kim said.

The joint committee talks were launched in early September as the Koreas reopened the Kaesong park, the last symbol of South-North economic cooperation, following a hiatus of more than five months.

Work at the industrial complex came to a screeching halt in early April when Pyongyang withdrew all its workers from South Korean companies amid heightened inter-Korean tensions.

The talks were launched to enhance the competitiveness of the park by attracting overseas investment and modernizing its facilities and systems.

During the latest, third meeting held in mid-September, two countries agreed to hold an investment relations event for prospective foreign investors, but the North later canceled the plan amid bumpy bilateral relations.

More than 44,000 North Korean workers at the 120 South Korean firms operating in the park produce clothes, shoes, watches and other goods. The project serves as a major legitimate revenue source for the impoverished communist country.

The ministry spokesman said the North's recent purge of Jang Song-thaek, the once powerful uncle of leader Kim Jong-un, may not affect the joint Seoul-Pyongyang economic project.

Earlier on Friday, the North announced that Jang had been convicted of attempting to topple the government in a military tribunal on Thursday and was immediately executed according to the sentence.

"The North is setting aside the internal Jang Song-thaek issue in its moves to keep up with scheduled plans related to the Kaesong Industrial Park," Kim said, adding that "the North is expected to do so down the road." (Yonhap news)

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