2 Koreas show differences at talks on suspended industrial zone

Low-level negotiators from North and South Korea showed differences in their positions at a fourth round of talks Wednesday on resuming operations at a joint industrial zone in the North's border city of Kaesong that has been idle for nearly three months.

"North Korea has repeated its previous position and said there are differences in positions on the resumption of the industrial zone and its normalization," an unnamed South Korean Unification Ministry official said in a pool report from reporters covering the talks being held in Kaesong.

In the morning session, South Korea demanded that North Korea take measures to ensure the unilateral disruption of the industrial zone would not happen again.

A three-member delegation from each side was expected to try to narrow the gap at the talks being held in Kaesong as their positions remained poles apart in the previous rounds.

In the previous rounds, South Korea had demanded North Korea implement legal and institutional measures to ensure the safety of South Korean personnel making trips to the zone and also to protect the property of South Korean companies.

South Korea also said the suspension of the industrial zone never should happen again and raised the necessity of developing the industrial zone into an international zone in which business activities of an international level are guaranteed for South Korean and international companies.

The North Korean side did not offer concrete measures as requested by the South and reiterated its position that operations at the industrial zone should be resumed at the earliest possible date.

The joint industrial zone was shut down in early April and North Korea withdrew all its 53,000 workers, employed by more than 100 South Korean companies, from Kaesong amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Pyongyang had cut off communication links with Seoul in March in response to joint South Korea-U.S. military exercises and the South's condemnation of the North's third nuclear test in February in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.