Koreas discuss restarting factory complex

Officials from North and South Korea negotiating restart of Kaesong border site shut down amid nuclear tensions.

South Korean soldiers patrol on Grand Unification Bridge leading to inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea, south of demilitarized zone separating the North from South Korea in Paju,
The Kaesong factory complex closed in April amid nuclear tensions [Reuters]

North and South Korean government officials are meeting to discuss how to restart a factory complex they jointly ran until it was shut down in April amid nuclear tensions.

The officials were meeting on Wednesday in a North Korean border town, the Associated Press news agency said.

The shutdown at the park just over the heavily armed border came during high tensions that followed Pyongyang’s February nuclear test.

North and South Korea agreed over the weekend on a desire to restart work there and are now discussing details about how to do that.

The Kaesong breakthrough follows talks that lasted more than 16 hours on Sunday, where the two sides pledged to revive operations at the jointly run zone.

The complex at Kaesong combines South Korean knowhow and cheap North Korean labour.

It was the countries’ last remaining major cooperation project. 

Representatives of South Korean factories at Kaesong also went to the complex Wednesday to inspect factory equipment during the rainy season.

A previous attempt at dialogue a month ago collapsed in acrimony amid arguments over protocol.

The Kaesong complex began operations in 2004 and has become a source of hard currency for the impoverished North.

Normally, 53,000 North Koreans work at factories owned by some 120 South Korean firms in Kaesong, which has in the past remained largely immune to strains in inter-Korean relations.

Source: News Agencies