First Kaesong joint committee meeting set for next week

Aug. 28, 2013 at 11:20 PM

SEOUL, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- North and South Korea will hold the first meeting of their newly formed joint committee on the Kaesong complex next week, Seoul officials said Thursday.

North Korea accepted the South's proposal to hold the first meeting on Monday, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The joint committee was formed as part of the two countries' effort to resume operations at the inter-Korean industrial complex in the North Korean border town of Kaesong. The facility was shuttered in April at the height of the recent tensions between the two countries.

The new committee will oversee the management of the Kaesong factory park and prevent future work stoppages, Yonhap reported, quoting the South's Ministry of Unification, which handles inter-Korean issues.

The committee will give South Korea an equal say in the running of the complex, the main economic link between the two countries, and deter the North from taking any unilateral action to disrupt operations at the park, the report said.

Yonhap quoted the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency as saying the two sides reached agreement on the formation of the committee and accepted the date for the first meeting. The committee will also have a permanent secretariat.

South Korea said the committee would help safeguard the interests of its nationals who will work at the complex and protect their investment, and also strive to internationalize the facility to attract new business.

The Kaesong facility began operations 10 years ago and currently it has more than 120 South Korean companies. Prior to its closure in April, the complex employed more than 50,000 North Koreans.

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