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
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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs