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Two Koreas start talks on joint industrial zone

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Suh Ho (C), the head of a South Korean working-level delegation, walks with colleagues as they prepare to depart for the North Korean border village of Panmunjom, from the Office of the South Korea-North Korea Dialogue in Seoul, on July 6, 2013. The two Koreas agreed to hold working-level talks aimed at restarting the joint Kaesong industrial complex.AFP

North and South Korea started rare talks on Saturday on re-opening a jointly run industrial zone, seen as the last remaining symbol of cross-border reconciliation.

Technical problems delayed the start of the talks at the border truce village of Panmunjom for almost two hours as telephone lines to the South needed repairs, the Unification Ministry in Seoul said.

Both Koreas say they want to reopen the Seoul-funded industrial zone on the North Korean side of the border but blame each other for its suspension.

North Korea, citing military tensions and the South's hostility toward the North, in April withdrew its 53,000 workers from the 123 Seoul-owned factories.

Seoul is expected to call for a written guarantee aimed at preventing a recurrence of the unilateral shutdown of Kaesong, a demand which the North would find it hard to accept as it would amount to Pyongyang swallowing its pride and accepting full responsibility for the suspension.