5 Jul 2013

New talks proposed on re-opening Korean industrial zone

9:57 am on 5 July 2013

South Korea has proposed new talks with North Korea on re-opening the Kaesong industrial zone.

The park was closed in April when tensions escalated over North Korea's weapons programmes.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said the proposal was made after a telephone hotline was reconnected by Pyongyang.

The BBC reports North Korea is yet to respond to the offer.

South Korea proposed that the talks take place on Saturday.

Prior to operations being suspended, there were around 120 South Korean businesses in the factory park, which provided the North with a source of hard currency.

On Wednesday, North Korea said it would allow South Korean companies to enter the complex, which is located just inside North Korea, to protect their equipment from damage in the rainy season.

The BBC reports the offer came after some South Korean companies threatened to abandon the zone entirely and relocate their equipment.

There were 53,000 workers in the complex in April.