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Koreas Agree To Reopen Kaesong Industrial Complex Next Week

In what is considered to be steps to improve bilateral relations between South and North Koreas, the two sides have agreed to reopen the Kaesong joint industrial complex on their border next week, about five months after operations at the facility were halted.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said in Seoul on Wednesday that its firms would be able to resume operations at the industrial park from next Monday, reports said.

The announcement came at the end of a prolonged meeting between the two sides that began on Tuesday morning and stretched overnight.

The joint industrial complex has been remaining shut since April last, after the North unilaterally withdrew its workers from the facility in protest against the South Korea-U.S. military drill and war rhetorics by the Communist State. Officials from both sides have been working since mid-August towards resuming operations.

The two sides also agreed to exempt taxes due this year for firms operating at Kaesong, as a way to compensate losses the South Korean firms incurred from the shutdown. It was also agreed to hold briefing sessions for foreign firms next month as part of a bid to attract investment from countries other than South Korea. All industries at the Kaesong complex are now owned by South Koreans.

In another move aimed at easing tension, the two Koreas are to hold a reunion of families and relatives separated by the Korean War from September 25, first such move in three years, the reports said.

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