New committee takes charge of Kaesong park

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New committee takes charge of Kaesong park

North and South Korea revealed the fine print of the agreement the two nations signed yesterday to establish a new 12-member joint committee to oversee the management of the Kaesong Industrial Complex. The aim is to prevent another arbitrary shutdown, protect investors and boost the competitiveness of the park.

A spokesman for Seoul’s Ministry of Unification said Kim Ki-woong, the chief negotiator from the South, and his North Korean counterpart Pak Chol-su exchanged final signed agreements for the normalization of operations at Kaesong at 4 p.m. yesterday at the truce village of Panmunjom.

The agreement says the committee will consist of one chair and five members for each side, the Unification Ministry said. Both chairs will preside over the committee and will be supported by businessmen, labor representatives and other experts. Four subcommittees were also set up to oversee entries and lengths of stay at the industrial park; protection of investors; transport, customs and communications; and improving the global economic competitiveness of the industrial park.

The investor protection subcommittee will look into allegations of illegal acts, protect assets and resolve problems between the parties to “advance the managing and operating of the Kaesong Industrial Complex to international standards,” according to the agreement.

The committee will meet quarterly and the subcommittees monthly.

North Korea agreed to hold the first meeting of the new established committee on Monday at Kaesong, when it is expected to discuss the formation of a secretariat for the joint committee and set a date for the reopening of the park.

Kaesong has been closed since April after North Korea withdrew its workers. Preventing another such incident was the main focus of talks on Aug. 14. In the past, the park was managed by the North’s General Bureau for Development Guidance of Central Special Zone.

Separately, Seoul and Pyongyang also exchanged lists yesterday of potential participants in the next reunion of families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War. Those reunions are scheduled for Sept. 25-30 at the Mount Kumgang resort in North Korea.

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