DPRK urges ROK to start talk on Kaesong issue

Updated: 2013-05-28 16:22


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PYONGYANG - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Tuesday urged the Republic of Korea's authorities to allow private organizations to participate in joint events, and to start dialogue on Kaesong Industry Zone (KIZ), the official news agency KCNA reported.

The DPRK made the call one day after the ROK rejected a joint event proposal made by the DPRK last Wednesday to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the landmark June 15 Joint Declaration.

"If the ROK's authorities are concerned about contradictions among South Koreans, they can take part in the reunification events themselves," said a spokesman with the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea.

"The ROK's authorities do not need to worry about their safety," the unnamed spokesman was quoted by the KCAN as saying.

He said that "the ROK can send members of the Committee for Operating the Kaesong Industrial Zone with the businessmen altogether."

The spokesman made the proposal in response to ROK's Monday appeal that "if the DPRK really wants to improve the inter-korean relationship it should start a dialogue with the government to build trust."

The South Korean Unification Ministry said Monday that Pyongyang should not try to stir internal discord within the ROK by calling for a joint gathering involving private organizations that do not have the authority to resolve outstanding issues that can only be handled at the government level.

The June 15 declaration reached at the historic 2000 summit meeting between late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and DPRK leader Kim Jong-il kicked off a period of rapprochement between the two countries that saw large-scale bilateral cooperation and the expansion of economic ties.

The KIZ, which is under the joint management of the ROK and the DPRK as one of the key symbols of inter-Korean economic cooperation, is facing the worst crisis since it opened in late 2004. Pyongyang shut down the industrial complex in early April and pulled out 53,000 DPRK workers. The ROK also withdrew its workers starting on April 26 after Pyongyang rejected Seoul's proposal for working-level talks.