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Inter-Korean Panel Holds First Talks on Kaesong Reopening

Kim Kiwoong, right, the head of South Korea's working-level delegation, shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart Park Chol Su, left, before their meeting at Kaesong Industrial District Management Committee in Kaesong, North Korea, August 14, 2013.
A joint North and South Korean committee tasked with reopening a joint industrial complex held its first meeting Monday, five months after operations came to a halt over rising military and diplomatic tensions between the rival nations.

The joint committee, made up of five officials from each nation, met in Kaesong to discuss the future of the industrial zone, which was shut down in April after Pyongyang withdrew its workers in early April.

The Koreas reached an agreement last Wednesday to restart production at the industrial park located on the North Korean side of the border. The agreement includes a pledge by both sides to prevent any future shutdowns, and to open up Kaesong to foreign investment.

The Kaesong Industrial Complex opened in 2004 as a symbol of cooperation between Seoul and Pyongyang. About 123 South Korean factories employed 53,000 North Korean workers, providing a key source of hard currency to the impoverished North.