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Koreas discuss arbitration procedures for Kaesong

An inter-Korean panel on the arbitration of legal disputes discussed details of arbitration procedures and rules at its meeting held on Thursday, the unification ministry said.

The meeting at the jointly run factory park in the North's western border city of Kaesong is the first of its kind since 2000 when the rival Koreas adopted a deal on solving legal disputes through arbitration.

The two sides had substantial discussions on the arbitration rules to be applied once the panel starts its business, the ministry said.

"The two sides shared the view that the arbitration system has an important meaning as one of the ways of solving disputes in the Kaesong industrial complex and exchanged opinions focusing on the details of arbitration procedures and the delivery of the list of arbitrators from North Korea," it said.

The South has sent the arbitrator list to the North, but the North has yet to follow suit.

The ministry, however, did not say whether they made tangible decisions during the meeting. The two Koreas agreed to hold the 2nd round of the talks in the near future in order to continue their discussion on the arbitration system.

The panel was made up in accordance with the two countries' agreement in September last year, which is expected to play a role equivalent to that of a court in the industrial park.

The panel is composed of five officials each from the rival Koreas. The sides also have 30 arbitrators each for the panel, which will handle possible legal disputes in the sprawling factory park.

The factory park, the last remaining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, is home to 120 small South Korean plants producing garments, shoes, watches and other labor-intensive goods. More than 44,000 North Koreans work in the complex. (Yonhap)