SEOUL -- North Korea lifted a ban in place since April at a joint industrial complex it shares with South Korea and agreed to talks with the South next week on normalizing operations.
Nine days after South Korea's "last call" for negotiations over the Kaesong complex, Pyongyang proposed talks on Aug. 14 in Kaesong through its Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, the country's organization that deals with South Korea.
It said it would allow Southern enterprises to reenter the region and guaranteed the return of the North's 53,000 workers.
"If the complex breaks now, we cannot fathom the hurt it will inflict on everyone in the North and the South, and its effect on the North-South relations," the agency said.
South Korean officials responded immediately, expressing hope for serious talks that would contribute to the growth of the complex.
Kaesong combines South Korean capital and technology with cheap labor from the North. North Korea withdrew its workers during a sharp downturn in relations with the South and its allies that included a steady stream of war-like messages from Pyongyang.