August 15, 2013 - 12:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - South and North Korea agreed to reopen their troubled joint factory park after Pyongyang promised not to shut it down again "under any circumstances," a joint statement said, accoridng to Yonhap.
The two Koreas also agreed to "internationalize" the Kaesong industrial park in the North's border city of the same name by hosting foreign investors, a proposal broached by Seoul to make it more difficult for North Korea to take any action against the park, according to the five-point statement issued at the end of the day-long negotiations.
Both sides, however, fell short of agreeing when to reopen the zone that has been idle since early April. They said only that the reopening would depend on how soon more than 123 impacted South Korean companies complete maintenance checkups on their facilities there.
A joint committee will be set up to supervise the future operation of the factory park and other related issues, including compensation for impacted South Korean plants, it said.
The Kaesong industrial complex combines South Korean know-how and capital with cheap North Korean labor, and was the centerpiece of cross-border cooperation projects hatched during a previous era of warming ties. Other joint projects between the two Koreas closed as relations soured over the past five years.
North Korea in April pulled its 53,000 workers out of the industrial park, and South Korea then ordered its managers to leave as well, against their wishes.
The park resulted in nearly $2 billion a year in cross-border trade before its shutdown.