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S Korea, DPRK meet amid escalated tensions
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The government-level talks between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), held at the Kaesong Joint Industrial Complex, ended on Thursday amid escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The DPRK representatives offered to the South Korean side to meet again on June 19, which the South accepted, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency said.

The two sides met twice in the day, for 50 minutes in the morning and 40 minutes in the afternoon, following up the talks they had in April.

During the meeting, the DPRK is known to request a hike in their workers' salary to almost four-fold the current term, 300 US dollars a month, according to Yonhap.

The DPRK also demanded to raise the land fee to 500 million US dollars, some 51 times the current level, Yonhap said, quoting an official.

As for the issue of a South Korean worker, who has been detained in the DPRK since March for "publicly denouncing the regime," the DPRK did not respond to the South Korean side in detail, Yonhap added.

The talks started at 10:40 a.m. (0140 GMT), Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said in the morning, adding that customs process for the South Korean delegation delayed the talks which were scheduled to start at 10 a.m. (0100 GMT).

The two sides, earlier in the morning, exchanged their keynote speeches for about 50 minutes, with South Korea raising the issue of a detained worker and the DPRK focusing on the revision of the joint park contract.

Adjourned at around 11:30 a.m.(0230 GMT), the talks later resumed at local time 03:00 p.m. (0600 GMT), and ended after 40 minutes with an agreement to meet again on June 19.

The rare meeting, held some 50 days after the first talks ended in 22 minutes without fruitful results, comes as South Korean border tensions remain high.

Before the South Korean delegation left for Kaesong, Kim Young- tak, head of the delegation, said their main focus is the release of the detained worker, which the delegation does not seem to have a breakthrough, according to Yonhap.

The Kaesong complex, where 106 South Korean companies operate with some 40,000 North Korean workers, makes a variety of products, from electronics and watches to shoes and utensils. The park, located in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, was jointly set up as a reconciliation project of the two sides.

(Xinhua News Agency June 11, 2009)
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