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Two Koreas resume talks amid low expectations

SOUTH KOREA: North and South Korea resumed talks Thursday on the future of their last major remaining joint venture, but hopes of progress were low amid tensions and Pyongyang's detention of a manager from the South.

The talks started at 10.40 am (0140 GMT) at the Seoul-funded industrial estate in Kaesong City just north of the border, the South's Unification Ministry said. "We will do our best to return home with good results," chief Seoul delegate Kim Young-Tak said before crossing the heavily fortified frontier.

"We expect to hold in-depth talks on the detention issue and problems facing Kaesong."

Government officials from the two sides met in April for the first time in more than a year. But the talks broke down after 22 minutes, with the North demanding pay rises for its workers and refusing to discuss the detainee. Workers are currently paid around 75 dollars a month including insurance. The money goes to the North's state agencies, which return a portion to workers.

Last month Pyongyang announced it had scrapped wage and rent agreements at the estate.

SEOUL, Thursday, AFP

 

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