North and South Korea have agreed to reopen the Kaesong joint industrial zone on a trial basis on Monday. The site, a rare symbol of inter-Korean cooperation, was shut five months ago amid heightened military tensions.
Following marathon negotiations, South Korea’s Unification Ministry confirmed Wednesday that the shuttered Kaesong industrial complex would be reopened on September 16.
South Korean firms will be able to resume operations following a trial on Monday, the ministry said.
Established in 2004 , the jointly run complex is located roughly 10 kilometers (six miles) inside the North Korean border.
It had been shut down since April when Pyongyang pulled its 53,000 workers out following two months of military tensions sparked by North Korea’s third nuclear test in February. Tensions were further raised by a fresh batch of United Nations sanctions against North Korea and joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States. Pyongyang said the excercises were deliberate provocation.
The agreement to reopen the complex came at a second round of talks between the two Koreas in a newly created Kaesong joint committee, that began Tuesday morning and continued until the early hours of Wednesday.
The deal is part of a five-point principle agreement on reopening the complex that the two sides signed on August 1. As part of the deal, the North accepted Seoul’s demand that Kaesong be opened to foreign investors – a move with the South considers a guarantee against the North shutting the site in future.