Koreas to reopen Gaeseong park

Koreas to reopen Gaeseong park
North Korea's chief delegate Pak Chol-Su (L) shakes hands with his South Korean counterpart Kim Ki-Woong (R) during their meeting.

The two Koreas agreed Wednesday to reopen their joint industrial park in Gaeseong next Monday, signing a package deal aimed at improving its operations and attracting overseas firms in the future.

The agreement was reached after talks lasting 20 hours in the North's border city that will end a five-month suspension of the last remaining symbol of cross-border cooperation.

The delegates issued a five-point statement that outlines plans to set up the panel's secretariat in Gaeseong this month and install a separate body to settle trade disputes.

The deal also looks to improve efficiency and productivity by adopting an electronic identification system for daily entries of South Koreans and start Internet and mobile phone services within this year.

They also agreed to jointly hold investment promotion events for foreign entrepreneurs next month, according to the statement adopted by an inter-Korean committee tasked with negotiating detailed plans for reopening the factory park.

The South Korean plants will be allowed to resume operations on a trial basis starting Monday. The owners will be exempt from taxes for this year as compensation for the five-month work stoppage, the statement said.

The panel plans to have a third meeting on Monday and its subcommittees are scheduled to gather on Friday, it added.

"This time there was progress in many areas, such as forming a commercial arbitration committee, opening a secretariat, implementing a daily entry system within this year, and providing Internet services," said Kim Ki-woong, a co-chair of the joint committee and director general of inter-Korean cooperation district support at the Unification Ministry.

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