Seoul to stop factory park joint-operations with Pyongyang

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Seoul, Feb 10 (IANS) In a fallout of Pyongyang’s recent nuclear test and long-range rocket launch, South Korea on Wednesday announced it was halting all operations at a factory park jointly-run with North Korea

Unification Minister Hong Yong-Pyo said Pyongyang conducted extremist provocations, including the fourth nuclear test and long-range missile launch, in defiance of repeated warnings from the international community, Xinhua reported.

North Korea launched a rocket on Sunday to deliver an observation satellite into orbit after testing what it claimed was its first H-bomb on January 6.

Pyongyang has been banned under UN Security Council resolutions from testing any ballistic missile technology and conducting a nuclear test.

Calling the recent moves as an intolerable act and a challenge to peace and stability to the Korean peninsula and the world, Hong said Pyongyang has never shown any intention to give up its nuclear and missile programmes as seen in North Korea’s recent declaration of plans to continue nuclear and missile tests.

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Operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex were stopped earlier also, in 2013. when Pyongyang withdrew its workers leading to a suspension of operations for over five months between April 8 and September 15.

The inter-Korean factory park, where the first product was manufactured in December 2004, was a symbol of cooperation between Seoul and Pyongyang. It employed over 53,000 North Korean workers in units run by about 120 South Korean companies there.

The park is located 10 km north of the Korean Demilitarised Zone, an hour’s drive from Seoul, with direct road and rail access to South Korea.

The park allows South Korean companies to employ cheap labour that is educated, skilled, and fluent in Korean, whilst providing North Korea with an important source of foreign currency.

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