S. Korea blames DPRK for Kaesong complex closure

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 8, 2013
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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) must take all responsibilities for the consequences from the closure of the joint industrial park at the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, the unification ministry said Monday.

"North Korea (DPRK)'s unilateral decision to push ahead with this measure (withdrawal of all DPRK workers from Kaesong) cannot be justified in any way and North Korea will be held responsible for all the consequences," the Ministry of Unification said in an e-mailed statement.

The ministry said it "deeply regrets"over the DPRK's announcement of a tentative suspension of the Kaesong industrial park and the pullout of all its workers from the industrial zone, noting that it will do its best to secure the safety of workers there and the protection of its property.

The statement came after Pyongyang declared the pullout of all its workers from the inter-Korean industrial zone which is housing 123 South Korean companies and employing some 53,000 DPRK workers.

Kim Yang Gon, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, said in a statement that "the DPRK will withdraw all its employees from the zone," according to the official KCNA news agency.

Kim said the operations in the zone will be temporarily suspended, noting that "how the situation will develop in coming days will entirely depend on the attitude of the South Korean authorities."

The pullout of all DPRK workers, announced five days after Pyongyang banned the entry of South Korean workers and vehicles to Kaesong, would effectively stop operations at the industrial park. There are 475 South Korean workers staying there as of Monday, with 77 scheduled to return to Seoul on Tuesday.

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told lawmakers on Thursday that he personally agreed with calls to pull out the civilians from Kaesong as they would be in jeopardy if the DPRK carries out military provocations. He also said that if the South Korean national were held hostage, Seoul had a military contingency plan to get them out.

Tensions have been running high in the Korean Peninsula since the DPRK conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12 in a protest against the joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.

The DPRK declared that it entered "a state of war" with South Korea, threatening to launch a preemptive nuclear strike for self- defense. It named military bases in the U.S. territory of Guam and the U.S. state of Hawaii as possible targets.

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