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S Korea, DPRK hold third round of talks over joint venture complex

THE South Korean and Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s delegation met for the third time at the Kaesong Joint Industrial Complex today amid escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The talks, which started at 10 am (0100 GMT), lasted one hour and 40 minutes and the two sides are discussing whether to resume the meeting in the afternoon, local news channel reported.

The 14-member delegation from South Korea crossed the northern border of the country at local time 08:48 (2348 GMT Thursday).

Before crossing the border, Kim Young-tak, head of the delegation, said that the South Korean representative will mainly focus on the issue of a South Korean worker who has been detained in the DPRK since late March for publicly denouncing the regime.

Kim said that they will also notify the DPRK of their clear position that South Korea will not accept the demands that the DPRK had made in the second round of talks.

Earlier last week, South Korea and the DPRK held their second round of talks, during which the DPRK claimed that South Korea should quadruple monthly wages for DPRK workers to US$300 from the current level of US$70 to US$80, as well as raise land rent to 500 million dollars, a 31-times increase from the current 16 million dollars fee.

The Kaesong complex, where 106 South Korean companies operate with some 40,000 DPRK workers, makes a variety of products, from electronics and watches to shoes and utensils.

The park, located in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, was jointly set up as a reconciliation project of the two sides.


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