North Korea invites South Korea back to the joint factory it shuttered


Lee Jin-man/AP

North Korea is offering an olive branch to South Korea.

A report from The Associate Press says that North Korean state television reported that the country is inviting South Korean managers back to the Kaesong industrial complex, a shared facility just across the border in North Korea.

In April, North Korea pulled its 50,000 workers from the factory as tensions between the two nations escalated. At first, South Korea kept its managers in the plant, but it was forced to pull them out for their safety after North Korea missed deadlines to restart negotiations. At the time, North Korea was not allowing anyone to enter the plant, and only allowing South Koreans to leave.

The factory complex was home to about 120 South Korean companies, which used cheap North Korean labour to operate.

The move from North Korea comes as tensions between the two nations ease a bit, at least compared to March and April when leader Kim Jong Un said he was ending the armistice that ended the Korean War and then seemed to issue a new threat against his neighbouring country — and the surrounding region — pretty much every day.

Given the recent history between the two counties, it’s likely that South Korea will be tentative about accepting this offering of goodwill.

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