SEOUL, South Korea -- North and South Korea agreed Thursday to hold talks this weekend on restarting a jointly run factory park after weeks of testy silence between the two sides, the South Korean government said.
The industrial complex in the North Korean city of Kaesong, just north of the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas, has been shut since a political showdown in April.
As South Korea held military exercises with the United States not far from the border, North Korea pulled its 53,000 workers in protest. South Korea then ordered its managers to leave as well, against their wishes.
South Korea's Unification Ministry, which is in charge of relations with North Korea, said the North accepted a proposal from the South that low-level officials from the two sides meet in the truce village of Panmunjom inside the DMZ.
The meeting will be held Saturday morning on North Korea's side of the village, it said.
Seoul wants to set the grounds for discussions on restarting the idled factory park, as well as ways to manage the facilities and goods that South Korean businesses left behind.
The closing of Kaesong, the centerpiece of joint projects hatched during a previous era of warming ties between the wartime foes, dealt a symbolic blow to reconciliation efforts between the divided Koreas. The project, which facilitated nearly $2 billion a year in cross-border trade, had been the last joint project left as relations soured over the past five years.
The closing also meant a loss of salary for tens of thousands of North Korean workers employed in factories run by 123 South Korean companies, and a loss of goods and orders for business managers who relied on Kaesong to churn out everything from shoes and watches to cables and electrical components.