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(2nd LD) Koreas unable to find middle ground on Kaesong Internet connectivity

2013/12/06 18:46

SEOUL, Dec. 6 (Yonhap) -- The two Koreas were unable to find middle ground in working-level talks Friday to set up Internet connectivity at the inter-Korean factory park in Kaesong.

The Ministry of Unification said representatives from the two sides met at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North Korean border city of the same name and discussed various technical issues that must be resolved to make the special economic zone more accessible to businesses.

"The two sides touched on technical details but could not reach an agreement," a ministry source said.

While no headway was made, he said, the sub-panel meeting marked the first time that Seoul and Pyongyang touched on details to link Kaesong with the outside world via the Internet. Past meetings on the issue have only touched on administrative matters and never reached this far.

"The two sides concurred on the need to hold more talks," the insider, who declined to be identified, said.

On the establishment of building a new data transfer system that uses radio frequency identification (RFID) system to facilitate travel in and out of the park, the ministry said talks are planned for Saturday. Talks held in the past few days have yielded little progress.

The ministry in charge of managing all cross-border relations said details on construction, materials needed to be resolved at the upcoming meeting.

If an agreement is reached, work can start next week, with the goal of having the RFID system to be operation by early next year.

RFIDs can ease travel to and from the industrial complex and are a key prerequisite to enhancing its global competitiveness. Companies first began churning out products in late 2004.

South Korea, meanwhile, first raised the issue of Internet connectivity in September as part of the agreement reached to reopen Kaesong, but the North has not been cooperative.

The joint complex was closed in early April following a spike in cross border tensions. It reopened on Sept. 16 only after Pyongyang agreed not to close down the complex again for non-economic reasons and pledged to change the way Kaesong is run in the future to make it more business-friendly.

yonngong@yna.co.kr

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