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ROK, DPRK start working-level talks

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-06 10:32

SEOUL - South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Saturday started working-level talks at the truce village of Panmunjeom, according to Yonhap News Agency.

As scheduled, three-member delegations from each side began the dialogue at around 10 a.m. local time in Tongilgak, an administrative building on the DPRK side of the Panmunjeom.

They will discuss how to normalize operations of the inter-Korean industrial park at the DPRK's border town of Kaesong that has been suspended for around three months.

Seoul sent Suh Ho, head of the Unification Ministry's exchange and cooperation bureau, as chief delegate, while Pyongyang reportedly sent Park Chol-su, vice director of the General Bureau of the Special Zone Development Guidance, as chief negotiator.

Suh told reporters before heading to the venue that the delegation will focus on three agendas, including how to maintain facilities and equipment at the Kaesong complex, how to bring back finished goods and materials and how to constructively normalize the inter-Korean factory park.

"(The delegation) will do our best to channel small trust and cooperation (that will be built at the talks) to bigger trust and cooperation," said Suh.

Both sides were scheduled to have the afternoon meeting from 2 p.m. after holding the plenary session in the morning.

The Kaesong industrial park, where factories of 123 South Korean companies were stationed, has been suspended for nearly three months after Pyongyang banned about 53,000 of its workers from reporting to work. Seoul also withdrew its personnel after the DPRK rejected working-level talks.

The two sides sought to hold their first high-level official talks in six years in June, but the scheduled dialogue was cancelled due to dispute over the ranks of chief delegates.

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