South Korea said on Thursday it was proposing formal talks with North Korea to discuss restarting work at a joint factory zone located just north of the rivals' heavily armed border which has been suspended since early April amid security tensions.
North Korea has denied South Korean workers and supplies entry to the industrial zone located a few miles inside the border accusing Seoul of using the joint project to insult its leadership. About 180 South Korean workers remain in the area and are believed to be running out of food and supplies.
It has also withdrawn its workforce from the zone amid spiraling tensions between the two Koreas amid a fusillade of hostile rhetoric from Pyongyang in response to what it sees as threatening U.S. and South Korean military drills.
Ties between the two Koreas were all but severed after the sinking of a South Korean navy ship in 2010 widely blamed on Pyongyang. The North also bombed a South Korean island later that year.