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Koreas Set Date for Reopening Shuttered Industrial Park

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North and South Korea have agreed to reopen a jointly-run industrial park just inside the North Korean border on a trial basis beginning next week.

The South's Unification Ministry, in a statement early Wednesday, said negotiators agreed on September 16 as a start date for the trial run. The agreement was reached after marathon negotiations that went through the night.

The Kaesong industrial complex opened in 2004 as a symbol of cooperation between Seoul and Pyongyang. But the facilities, which employ 53,000 people, were shut down by the North in April. Pyongyang blamed the closure on rising tensions from joint U.S.-South Korean military maneuvers.

South Korean businesses use Kaesong to manufacture a variety of products with cheap North Korean labor. In turn, the industrial park serves to provide vital foreign currency to the impoverished North.

The South Korean statement said industrial operations will fully resume after the trial run is completed.



Last month, with tensions easing, the two Koreas also agreed to resume stalled talks on reuniting families forcefully separated six decades ago by the Korean War.

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