May 01, 2013
S. Korea Reports Progress at Kaesong Complex
South Korea says it is making progress with the North on allowing the return of its workers who remain at a suspended joint industrial zone just north of the border.
But the South's Unification Ministry said more time is needed to resolve issues such as unpaid taxes and wages before the seven remaining South Koreans can leave the Kaesong industrial complex.
The last-minute dispute prevented the workers from leaving along with the last 43 South Koreans who returned home Monday. If they leave, it would break the final peaceful link between the two foes.
North Korea pulled its 53,000 workers and blocked South Korean entry to the facility last month, as part of its angry reaction to expanded United Nations sanctions against its latest nuclear test.
Last week, Seoul announced it was removing its nationals from Kaesong after Pyongyang rejected an offer to hold talks on restarting the complex. On Tuesday, Seoul insisted that the offer still stands and that the "window of dialogue" remains open.
The decade-long agreement on Kaesong provided North Korea with hard currency and the South with cheap labor. The withdrawal will be the first time the factory will be completely closed since its opening in 2004.
The dispute over Kaesong is the latest flashpoint in what has been weeks of tensions on the Korean peninsula.