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North Korea does U-turn with offer to re-open Kaesong industrial zone

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North Korea does U-turn with offer to re-open Kaesong industrial zone


North Korea has offered to re-open the Kaesong industrial complex close to the border with South Korea, four months after the last symbol of cooperation between the two rival nations was abruptly shut down.

In unusually conciliatory remarks, Pyongyang said the safety of South Koreans visiting the factory park would be guaranteed.

The move came straight after Seoul said it would compensate its firms that operate in Kaesong for losses suffered due to the shutdown.

The announcement, made at a news conference by South Korean Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-Suk, was seen as paving the way for formally closing the site.

South Korea’s earlier “final offer” of talks on re-opening the project had gone unanswered.

The South did not immediately respond to the North’s proposal.

The Kaesong complex, close to the heavily armed border, provided badly needed hard currency for the North.

Until the shutdown, as tension between the two nations peaked, 53,000 North Korean workers were employed by 123 South Korean firms, generating the equivalent of nearly 70 million euros annually in wages paid directly to the North’s state agency.

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