North and South Korea agreed to open their jointly run industrial complex on Monday, nearly half a year after the North shuttered the site at the height of tensions between the countries.
The agreement on a timeline by officials meeting at Gaeseong inside North Korea early today adds to the thaw in ties between the two sides after they agreed last month to reopen the park just north of their heavily armed border.
“The confirmation of the date for reopening means the normalization of the Gaeseong Industrial Complex is on track,” the Unification Ministry said in an e-mailed statement.
Since the preliminary accord on Aug. 14 on the factory park, North and South Korea have agreed to resume reunions of families separated by the Korean War and restarted a military hot-line to improve communication.
Gaeseong housed more than 120 South Korean companies and represented the only vestige of cooperation between the sides before the North pulled out its 53,000 workers in April.
Tension peaked on the peninsula in February when North Korea conducted its third nuclear test, prompting the United Nations to tighten its sanctions against the country. In April, the North said it would restart all facilities at its main nuclear complex north of Pyongyang.
Glyn Davies, the top U.S. envoy for North Korea, told reporters in South Korea yesterday the U.S. ruled out the possibility of a quick resumption of six-nation talks offering the North aid in return for giving up its nuclear ambitions unless Kim Jong Un’s regime halts its nuclear program.