Korean talks fail to reopen shuttered factories

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Officials from North and South Korea met Monday for the third time this month but again failed to find a way to reopen an inter-Korean factory park that was a key symbol of cooperation before its shutdown in April. They agreed to meet again Wednesday.

The park opened in 2004 at the North Korean border town of Kaesong during a period of rapprochement between the rivals. Operations stopped in April when tension ran high in the wake of North Korea’s February nuclear test.

The two Koreas recently agreed on a desire to reopen the complex after North Korea began showing signs of an interest in diplomacy after weeks of threatening rhetoric in March and April.

Delegates from the two Koreas met Wednesday at Kaesong to discuss details on how to revive the park, but the meeting ended without breakthrough.

South Korea wants measures that would prevent any future unilateral shutdown of Kaesong, and North Korea repeated past complaints, South Korean chief delegate Kim Kiwoong told reporters after the talks ended, according to South Korean media pool reports.

North Korea has previously pressed South Korea to end military exercises with the United States and stop what it says are insults against Pyongyang’s leadership.

The complex, which blends South Korean capital and management skills with cheap North Korean labor, was the last remaining major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation before its suspension.

Other rapprochement projects like reunions of families separated by war and tours to a scenic North Korean mountain have stalled amid recent animosities.

The two Koreas remains divided by the world’s most heavily fortified border. Their three-year war ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, in 1953.

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