July 08, 2013 10:37
Officials from North and South Korea in marathon talks from Saturday morning to the early hours of Sunday agreed in principle to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
The officials met at the border truce village of Panmujom. They said both sides wish to "normalize operations" at the industrial park and "resolve difficulties" faced by the manufacturers that had to close their facilities.
The agreement comes 96 days after North Korea on April 3 closed the border to traffic going into the industrial park, apparently aggrieved by South Korean media reports that it would not be able to close the complex as it needs the money too badly.
The two sides agreed to let the South Korean manufacturers check and repair machinery in their factories and collect finished goods and raw materials. The North promised South Korean personnel safe passage.
Follow-up talks are scheduled for Wednesday in Kaesong, which is when the manufacturers will also visit.
But the two sides failed to agree on specific terms necessary for operations to resume. The South called on North Korea to admit responsibility for the shutdown of the industrial complex and provide solid guarantees for the safety of South Korean personnel. But North Korea apparently did not respond.
A government official here said the latest agreement was only "in principle" and added it does not signify a return to the former state of affairs.
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