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Reopening of Kaesong Industrial Complex



From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

North and South Korea reopened their joint factory zone recently. Lines of trucks and cars crossed South Korea's northern border on the way to Kaesong, North Korea. About 800 South Korean workers and their supervisors entered the jointly operated Kaesong Industrial Complex. They brought materials and parts to restart production for the first time in months. South Korean managers expressed happiness at returning to work.

Ji Yoon-tae is deputy chief of a South Korean company in Kaesong. He said it was very hard while the factories were closed. From now on, he says, he hopes everything works out well and the factory zone comes back to life. In April, North Korea removed about 53,000 workers from the joint manufacturing effort. Their withdrawal resulted from military tensions with South Korea and the United States.

South Korean companies say they lost about $1 billion from the suspension of work at the factories. The industrial area produces cloth, watches and parts for electronic products. After months of negotiations, the two Koreas reached a deal to reopen the area. They agreed to set up a joint committee to settle future problems. Officials from the two sides have been holding weekly meetings to discuss other details. The re-opening is seen as the most important sign of warming relations between North and South Korea since the North carried out missile and nuclear tests.

Choi Kyong-lim is South Korea's deputy minister of trade, industry and energy. He told reporters in Seoul that the government hopes many Chinese companies will invest in Kaesong. China is North Korea's closest ally.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal.