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Two Koreas in rare talks on Kaesong industrial zone

Talks between North and South Korea after months of military tensions have reportedly led to an agreement in principle to reopen a joint industrial complex. Both sides said the zone would reopen "when ready."

South Korea wrapped up a day of rare cross-border talks with North Korea on Saturday, saying both sides had agreed to "revive operations" at Kaesong industrial complex "when ready," according to a statement released by the South Korea's Unification Ministry.

Delegates would resume negotiations soon, according to Seoul's chief representative at the meeting, Suh Ho.

In April, North Korea vacated the complex in retaliation against South Korean and US joint military exercises, citing the drills as a provocation.

The North pulled all its 53,000 workers from Seoul-owned factories in the zone, which lies just north of the Demilitarized Zone that divides the two countries. Seoul withdrew managers from factories run by 123 South Korean companies.

Northern and southern Korean representatives also agreed at their talks on Saturday to allow Seoul businessmen to visit Kaesong starting Wednesday, to check factories.

Saturday's talks at the truce village of Panmunjon came after a protocol disagreement last month resulted in the two Koreas calling off talks.

Neither side had declared Kaesong closed and referred instead to a temporary shutdown, while blaming each other for the suspension.

ipj/hc (AP, AFP

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