North, South Korea agree to reopen Kaesong joint industrial zone
August 14, 2013 -- Updated 1527 GMT (2327 HKT)
South Korean troops work a checkpoint on the road leading to North Korea's Kaesong complex in this file photo.
- Nations agree that zone will no longer be affected by political situations
- North Korea had suspended operations at the industrial zone in April during tensions
- It's not clear when the complex will reopen
(CNN) -- North Korea and South Korea agreed Wednesday to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex, a joint manufacturing zone that the North shuttered amid high tensions in April.
It wasn't immediately clear when the zone -- considered to be an important source of hard currency for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime -- will reopen.
As part of the agreement, both governments said that the zone's operation would no longer be "affected by political situations under any circumstance."
"I hope that the agreement today will be a chance for South-North relations to make a new start," South Korean President Park Geun-hye said after the deal was revealed.
Is N. Korea's economy working?
Will Kaesong return to normal?
The announcement came after multiple rounds of talks with the South, aimed at getting the shuttered factories at Kaesong back up and running.
Four months ago, North Korea expelled South Korean workers and suspended activity at the zone, which sits on the North's side of the Koreas' demilitarized zone, as it unleashed a torrent of threatening rhetoric toward South Korea and the United States.
But the tensions have since eased, and the generally secretive North recently allowed a large Western media contingent to cover the 60th anniversary of the armistice that stopped the Korean War in 1953.
Wednesday's agreement also calls for a joint panel to discuss compensating South Korean companies that were hurt by the shuttering.
About 53,000 North Koreans worked at more than 120 South Korean companies at the complex, seen as a key symbol of inter-Korean cooperation. It produced hundreds of millions of dollars worth of goods yearly.
The closure was the zone's first since its debut nine years ago.
CNN's Elizabeth Joseph and Jethro Mullen and journalist Soo Bin Park contributed to this report
Part of complete coverage on
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
As diplomats discuss a string of unsolved kidnappings of Japanese citizens by North Korea, the families of those abducted anxiously wait and hope.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0313 GMT (1113 HKT)
North Korea says it plans to prosecute two American tourists that it detained earlier this year, accusing them of "perpetrating hostile acts."
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 2338 GMT (0738 HKT)
North Korea proposed that "all hostile military activities" with South Korea be halted, but it attached conditions that Seoul is likely to reject.
June 27, 2014 -- Updated 0023 GMT (0823 HKT)
North Korean state news is reporting the country test-launched "cutting-edge ultra precision tactical guided missiles."
June 25, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
James Franco won't be following Dennis Rodman into North Korea anytime soon.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1104 GMT (1904 HKT)
Don't you hate it when the weatherman gets it wrong? Apparently, so does Kim Jong Un.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 2344 GMT (0744 HKT)
New signs show Russia and North Korea are developing a closer relationship.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
Photographer Eric Lafforgue visited North Korea and shares his inside look at the most isolated country in the world.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 0125 GMT (0925 HKT)
Many North Koreans listen to illegal broadcasts on homemade radios, some are convinced to defect.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1926 GMT (0326 HKT)
Jang Jin-Sung, a North Korean defector and former regime insider, speaks with CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
iReporter Kenny Zhu visited North Korea in April and was able to take video footage and photos with his Google Glass during the trip.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 1842 GMT (0242 HKT)
North Korea loves saber-rattling. Here's a look at all the firepower they have stockpiled.
April 24, 2014 -- Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT)
CNN's Elise Labott reports on the new baby pictures of Kim Jong Un released by North Korean state media.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1127 GMT (1927 HKT)
Experts warn that under Kim Jong Un's rule, Pyongyang has shown an even greater willingness to raise the stakes than before.
March 18, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
China and North Korea criticize a U.N. report that found crimes against humanity committed in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
March 17, 2014 -- Updated 1205 GMT (2005 HKT)
Megumi Yokota was only 13 when she was abducted by a North Korean agent in the 1970s. What happened after that?
March 12, 2014 -- Updated 0430 GMT (1230 HKT)
Report: North Korea uses multiple techniques to defy sanctions, and shows no signs of abandoning its nuclear missile programs.
Today's five most popular stories