North Korea says it is willing to hold talks with South Korean business owners on re-opening a joint industrial complex that was closed in April amid escalating tensions.
State media Tuesday quoted government officials as saying the South Korean businessmen do not need to fear for their safety if they enter the Kaesong industrial complex for the talks.
But Pyongyang rejected calls by Seoul for working-level government talks on re-opening the complex, which lies 10 kilometers north of the demilitarized zone.
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 U.N. sanctions against its latest nuclear test. Seoul withdrew its own workers shortly thereafter.
Established in 2004, Kaesong provided North Korea with hard currency and the South with cheap labor. It was the last remaining peaceful link between the two countries.