ROK, DPRK meet in Kaesong to discuss wage issue
Updated: 2015-07-16 11:03
SEOUL - Delegates of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) met Thursday in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong to discuss issues, including a wage hike for DPRK workers hired at the namesake factory park.
Five ROK's delegates crossed the inter-Korean land border to the Kaesong industrial zone, kicking off the first talks with DPRK counterparts in more than a year, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry. The talks began at about 10 am (0100 GMT).
After a five-month hiatus in operation of the factory park, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed in August 2013 to launch the joint management committee for the Kaesong industrial complex and hold the committee meeting regularly.
The meeting was suspended amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula since the last meeting was held in June 2014.
During the meeting, the two sides are expected to discuss the wage hike issue. Seoul and Pyongyang have been in deadlock on the wage hike for DPRK workers in Kaesong.
The row came after the DPRK revised labor regulations in November 2014 without consulting with the ROK and unilaterally notified the South side of its decision in late February.
Under the revision, the DPRK raised minimum wages for workers in Kaesong from $70.35 to $74, topping the growth ceiling of 5 percent agreed upon by an inter-Korean agreement.
The ROK has called for the wage hike to be discussed through an inter-governmental dialogue, but the DPRK has claimed that it was a matter of internal affairs in which the South side cannot intervene.
The Kaesong industrial zone has been seen as one of the key symbols of inter-Korean economic cooperation. Some 120 South Korean companies employing about 53,000 DPRK workers are operating in the park.