South and North Korea reopened their quarterly meeting on a joint industrial complex to discuss management issues on Thursday following a six-month suspension sparked by heightened cross-border tensions.
The fifth meeting of the joint inter-Korean committee of the Kaesong Industrial Complex started in the namesake North Korea border city, the first high-level contact between the two Koreas since their last gathering in December.
The two Koreas agreed to set up the joint committee in late August and to meet on a quarterly basis last year as they reopened the joint industrial park after a five-month suspension.
A South Korean delegation led by Lee Kang-woo, the head of the unification ministry's Kaesong complex promotion body, crossed the inter-Korean land border for the one-day meeting with North Korean officials.
"As the meeting comes after a long time, it serves as an opportunity to inspect the tasks of developing and normalizing the Kaesong Industrial Complex," Lee told reporters before leaving for Kaesong.
Ways to allow freer movement in and out of the complex, as well as setting up an Internet connection, will be discussed and South Korea will make utmost efforts in the discussion, he said.
Seoul has been pushing to fully operate an electronic entry system and adopt Internet connection in the Kaesong factory park.
Thursday's meeting represents one of several signs suggesting the resuscitation of inter-Korean exchanges shut off since the joint annual Seoul-Washington military drills angered Pyongyang, which denounced them as a rehearsal of an invasion into the North.
Two civilian South Korean groups crossed the inter-Korean border this week to hold meetings with their North Korean counterparts, each on a joint Korean dictionary project and forestry cooperation, resuming their long-suspended contact with the northern side.
The Kaesong complex opened in the early 2000s as a key symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation at that time.
The industrial complex was shut down for nearly five months last year amid growing military tensions on the peninsula. (Yonhap)