North Korea and South Korea reached an agreement Wednesday to reopen the joint manufacturing zone called the Kaesong Industrial Complex, which the North had closed in April due to high tensions between the two nations.
A date has not yet been specified for the reopening, but both governments agreed that the zone’s operation would no longer be “affected by political situations under any circumstance.”
The zone, which is on the North’s side of the Koreas’ demilitarized zone, is believed to be an important source of hard currency for the North Korean government.
“I hope that the agreement today will be a chance for South-North relations to make a new start,” said South Korean President Park Geun-hye after the deal was announced.
Several rounds of talks were held between the North and South aimed at getting the Kaesong factories back up and running.
Back in April, Kim Jong Un’s North Korean regime expelled South Korean workers and suspended all activity at the zone, as it engaged in threatening rhetoric toward South Korea and the United States
Tensions have now eased, with the North even allowing the Western media to cover the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War.
The two nations also agreed that a joint panel will discuss compensating South Korean companies hurt by the closure.
The complex is viewed as a key symbol of cooperation between the two countries, and produced hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods annually, with some 53,000 North Koreans working at over 120 South Korean companies in the complex.
This closure was the first since the zone opened nine years ago. Image/CNN