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Koreas Agree to Reopen Shuttered Kaesong Factory

North and South Korea have agreed to re-open the jointly run Kaesong manufacturing complex, which was closed earlier this year during heightened military tensions.

In a joint statement, the two sides said the agreement includes a pledge from both to prevent any future shutdowns, a key South Korean demand for re-opening the facility.

Both sides also agreed to try to attract foreign companies to the complex.

A joint committee will be formed to refurbish the facilities and consider compensation for South Korean firms affected by the shutdown. The two sides did not give an official date for resuming operations.

In April, North Korea withdrew its 53,000 workers from Kaesong in anger over U.S.-South Korean military exercises and international sanctions against its February nuclear test. South Korean businesses pulled out their managers and workers in early May.

The latest round of negotiations came just days before the United States and South Korea begin an annual military drill.



North Korea last week proposed the latest round of talks. The offer came just hours after Seoul said it would start paying compensation to Kaesong's South Korean manufacturers. The move was seen by many as a sign of the South Korean government's readiness to abandon the project.

The industrial park, which manufactured goods with cheap North Korean labor, provided a key source of foreign income to the leadership of the impoverished North. It is located just north of the inter-Korean border.

Kaesong was the last remaining sign of cooperation between the two longtime foes. This has been the first total shutdown of the complex since it opened in 2004.

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