North Korea rejects latest offer of talks with the South | News | DW | 26.04.2013
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North Korea rejects latest offer of talks with the South

North Korea has reportedly rejected the South's latest calls for talks on restarting operations at the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex. South Korea had threatened to take "serious measures" if talks were declined.

Pyongyang warned Friday it would take "grave action" if South Korea followed through on its threat as it rejected the latest call for talks, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the North's National Defense Commission.

"If the South Korean puppet force continues to aggravate the situation, it would be up to us to take any final and decisive grave measures," the south's news agency quoted the defense commission as saying.

On Thursday Seoul gave North Korea 24 hours to respond to its offer for talks on reopening the joint industrial zone. The offer was the first formal attempt by South Korea to resolve the deadlock over the project, widely considered to be the only remaining channel of cooperation between the two Koreas.

The Kaesong complex, which is located roughly 10 kilometers (six miles) inside the North, employs about 53,000 North Korean workers at 176 South Korean companies.

Operations came to a halt in April when North Korea banned South Korean workers from crossing the heavily-guarded border to enter the factory and withdrew its own workers.

The move came amid heightened tensions in the Korean peninsula, triggered by Pyongyang's prohibited nuclear test in February.

ccp/dr (AFP, dpa)