Back to business for North and South Korea

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Back to business for North and South Korea

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A marathon overnight session of talks between North and South Korea in Seoul has produced a deal on the Kaesong industrial park.

For South Korea it means 123 factories back to work; for the North it is jobs for 53,000 workers and vital revenues. One more sign that relations are returning to a more businesslike footing.

“As we concurred in our agreement for normalisation, North Korea and South Korea shared the same view that not only normalisation but also reopening of the Kaesong Complex should resume as soon as possible, and North Korea didn’t express a different opinion about this,” said the co-chair of the joint management committee and chief South Korean delegate Kim Ki-woong..

Ten kilometres north of the 1953 armistice line Kaesong was opened in 2004, the most visible fruit of the turn-of-the-century so-called “sunshine” policies. It stayed open when all other relations were at their worst; so its closure in the latest crisis was seen as significant.

However South Korea appears to have won a significant concession with the admittance of foreign capital in Kaesong for the first time.

At the end of September reunions for families separated by the civil war will also resume in another sign of normalisation. They were suspended in 2010 after North Korea bombarded an island.