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ROK, DPRK agree in principle to reopen industrial park

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-07-07 10:34

SEOUL - The Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) agreed in principle on Sunday to normalize the joint Kaesong industrial zone (KIZ) after around 16 hours of marathon talks.

Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to "reactivate" the industrial zone in the DPRK border town of Kaesong and to hold follow-up talks on July 10 at the Kaesong industrial zone to discuss the way of normalization such as the prevention of recurrence of unilateral  shutdown of the industrial park in the future, according to the joint statement posted on the website of ROK's Ministry of Unification.

Both sides also agreed to allow ROK's businessmen to start inspecting their factories at the indurtial park on July 10 and maintain manufaturing facilities to diminish possible damages during the rainy season.

ROK's companies will be allowed to bring back finished products and materials out of the complex.

Pyongyang agreed to guarantee security of personnel and vehicles of these companies to and from Kaesong.  

The agreement was reached at 4:05 am local time on Sunday after around 16 hours of  working-level talks held at the Thongil House on the north side of Panmunjom truce village.

The KIZ, where factories of 123 South Korean companies were stationed, has been suspended for nearly three months after Pyongyang banned about 53,000 of its workers from reporting to work in protest at joint ROK-US annual military drill amid high tension on the Korean Peninsula. Seoul also withdrew its personnel after the DPRK rejected talks.

The two sides sought to hold their first high-level official talks in six years in June, but the scheduled dialogue was canceled due to dispute over the rank of chief negotiators.

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