S. Korea to halt operations at joint industrial park over N. Korea missile launch

SEOUL : South Korea would suspend its operations at a jointly-run industrial park in North Korea to punish Pyongyang for its latest rocket launch and nuclear test.

It was the first time Seoul has suspended operations at the Kaesong estate since it was opened in 2004 as a symbol of cross-border reconciliation, South Korea said on Wednesday.

“We have decided to stop all operations at the Kaesong industrial complex so that our investment in the complex would not be used by the North to fund its nuclear and missile development.” Hong Yong-Pyo, Seoul’s unification minister in charge of cross-border affairs, told a press conference.

“All our support and efforts were taken advantage of by the North to develop its nuclear weapons and missile programmes.” he said.

Hong said that all South Korean managers currently working at the site, totalling 184 as of Wednesday would be summoned back home and Seoul has notified the North of the decision. We ask for people’s understanding about our decision, which was inevitable given the grave situation on the Korean peninsula.

South Korea’s government and companies over the years have invested more than one trillion won ($837 million) in the project, Hong said, adding some of the money appears to have been used to fund Pyongyang’s widely-condemned nuclear weapon and missile programmes.

Seoul imposed partial restrictions on entry to the complex last month following the North’s shock nuclear test on January 6. Pyongyang followed up with a long-range rocket launch on Sunday.

Agencies

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