News / Asia

N. Korea to Reopen Kaesong, Offers Fresh Talks with South

South Korean army soldiers patrol behind a barbed-wire fence near a directional sign showing the distance to North Korea's city Kaesong and South Korea's capital Seoul at the Imjingak Pavilion near the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea, July 5, 201
South Korean army soldiers patrol behind a barbed-wire fence near a directional sign showing the distance to North Korea's city Kaesong and South Korea's capital Seoul at the Imjingak Pavilion near the border village of Panmunjom, South Korea, July 5, 201
TEXT SIZE - +
VOA News
South Korea has welcomed a North Korean offer to end a months-long closure of the jointly-run Kaesong industrial complex and has agreed to hold talks on the issue next week.

The South Korean Unification Ministry said Wednesday it accepted Pyongyang's proposal for the talks to be held on August 14 at the shuttered Kaesong factory zone located in the North near the inter-Korean border.

Kaesong Joint Industrial Complex

-Started producing goods in 2004
-Employs about 53,000 North Koreans
-120 South Korean businesses operate there
-Hailed as rare example of North/South cooperation
-Generates $2 billion in trade annually for North
-Located 10 kilometers north of border
South Korean businesses that used Kaesong to manufacture products with cheap North Korean labor also welcomed the prospect of the two sides lifting a production freeze that began in April. The industrial park had provided a key source of foreign income to the leadership of the impoverished North.

Pyongyang made the offer to reopen the industrial park in what it called a "bold and magnanimous" statement published on Wednesday by its official news agency KCNA. The North offered to guarantee the safety of South Korean managers in Kaesong and promised to send back tens of thousands of workers whom it pulled out in April during a period of heightened inter-Korean tensions.

KCNA also said both Koreas should prevent a recurrence of the shutdown and ensure normal operations continue "without being affected by any situation in any case."

South Korea has demanded a guarantee that North Korea will not unilaterally suspend production at Kaesong if military or political tensions resurface. It is not clear if the latest North Korean statement meets that demand.

KCNA reported the offer about an hour after Seoul said it would start paying compensation to Kaesong's South Korean manufacturers, a move seen by many South Koreans as a sign of the government's readiness to abandon the project.

North Korea previously had maintained 10 days of silence on the South's demand for a "final" round of talks on the future of Kaesong. Six previous rounds had concluded without agreement.

North Korea withdrew its 53,000 workers from Kaesong as part of an angry response to joint 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. It was the first total shutdown of the complex since it opened in 2004.

Kaesong has served as the last remaining sign of cooperation between the two longtime foes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid