Operations will "resume on a trial basis from 16 September", a statement from the Unification Ministry said. "The institutional foundation has now been laid for Kaesong to develop into an internationally competitive and stable industrial complex."
South Korean firms will be exempt from taxes for the rest of the year to offset losses incurred while the complex was closed, it said.
The ministry also said that the two Koreas planned to host a roadshow to try and attract foreign investors to the zone in October.
Comment: The North's charm offensive continues, manifest in the Rodman visit, but some hard headed economic thinking managed to prevail over ideological petulance. Perhaps the most unnerving aspect of this agreement is the prospect of economic managers from both Koreas targeting together the rest of the world to entice investment.
Six Party Talks: At the daily Foreign Ministry press conference, the spokesman was asked about the Six Party Talks on ending North Korea's nuclear programs.
"Q: The ROK and US chief delegates to the Six-Party Talks said on the 10th that there is no way the Six-Party Talks can be restarted if the DPRK (North Korea) does not change its attitude on the nuclear issue. Does the Chinese side have any comment?"
"A: The Chinese side has always advocated remaining committed to achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula, and resolving related issues through dialogue and consultations. In the current situation, the parties concerned should keep the broad picture in mind, do more things that will help ease the situation, make joint efforts to create favorable conditions for restarting the dialogue, and remain committed to resolving related issues within the framework of the Six-Party Talks."
Comment: One of the drawbacks to the policy of persuading the Chinese to get engaged in a problem is their propensity to solve it their way without compromise. The answer provided by the Foreign Ministry spokesman is a restatement of Chinese policies enunciated at the National People's Congress.
They mean that the North Korean proposal for four party talks is a non-starter and that the US conditions are also not acceptable. There will be talks because the Chinese are in the catbird's seat. They have become the indispensable middle man who has leverage over every one else. While they prefer a non-nuclear North Korea, they can live with a nuclear North Korea. What they find intolerable is instability unless it is of their making.
Syria:Update. Opposition sources say government forces attacked the hills around Ma'aloula village early on Monday under the cover of heavy shelling. The Christian village is reported to be almost empty after most of its residents fled following the arrival of the foreign-backed militants last week. According to a resident, who left the area in the past days, only around 50 people remain there.
Militants from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front and the Qalamun Liberation Front are reported to be in control of some parts of the historic village, which is located about 70 kilometers northeast of Damascus.
Comment: Since 1999 this village has been on UNESCO's Tentative List of World Heritage sites.
Politics.The Syrian government has accepted a Russian proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control to avoid a possible U.S. military strike,Interfaxnews agency quoted Syria's foreign minister as saying on Tuesday.
Syrian Foreign Minister Mu'allim said, "We held a very fruitful round of talks with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday, and he proposed an initiative relating to chemical weapons. And in the evening we agreed to the Russian initiative." He said Syria had agreed because this would "remove the grounds for American aggression."
Before leaving Moscow, the Foreign Minister made several astounding announcements reported by Russian media. He said,
-- Syria is willing to join the Chemical Weapons Convention;
-- Syria is ready to disclose the location of its chemical weapons;
-- Syria is willing to halt production of chemical weapons, and,
-- Syria is willing to show its facilities to representatives of Russia, the United Nations and other states.
Comment: These are astonishing concessions because they signify that the Asad government is willing to agree to never wage war with Israel. Syrian forces never stood a chance of fighting Israel -- either attacking or defending -- without the threat of chemical weapons delivered by North Korean-made/designed missiles or without some other force multiplier, such as nuclear weapons.
In 2007 Israel destroyed Syria's vestigial plutonium weapons program, when it destroyed the reactor under construction with North Korean assistance. Since then, Syria's only deterrent and equalizer against Israel has been its chemical weapons and delivery systems.
No media analysts have appreciated the significance and implications of Mu'allim's announcements. They represent a partial disarmament agreement and a de facto non-aggression or peace agreement, deals Israel could never achieve on its own. This is a once in a century opportunity.
The exchange of value requires the US to agree to not attack Syria. There are some profound ramifications.
American strategists must recognize that this deal is only good so long as the Ba'athist government survives in Damascus. Thus, the US promise to not attack Asad would amount to a protection agreement because the Islamists and the moderate Islamists will not make a similar guarantee. Yesterday, even so-called moderate rebel groups announced that they recognized Israel as their enemy and would attack it if they came to power.
The US protective umbrella would also apply to Israel for the same reason it applies to the US. If the Islamists win, Israel would be under a chemical warfare threat. That threat goes away only if the Ba'athist government remains in power.