Two Koreas Agree to Reopen Shuttered Factory Park

SEOUL (Reuters) -

North and South Korea agreed on Wednesday to reopen a troubled joint industrial park after a series of talks on the fate of the symbol of economic cooperation, raising hopes of possible improvement in political ties.

In a joint statement, the two sides said they had agreed to work together to get the Kaesong industrial zone, a few miles (km) inside North Korea from the heavily fortified border, up and running again and to prevent another shutdown.

“South and North guarantee the industrial zone’s normal operation … without influence of any kind from the political situation,” the two sides said in the statement, noting that they would jointly try to attract overseas investors.

They did not give a date for the reopening, but the move addresses both the political interests of South Korea and the economic interests of North Korea, which is so poor it cannot feed its people.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye welcomed the decision, saying she hoped “today’s talks will be the beginning of a new start of South and North Korea relations,” media said.

North Korea pulled its 53,000 workers out of the park in April.