North Korea recalling workers from jointly-run factory

Print
Email
|

Associated Press

Posted on April 8, 2013 at 7:08 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 8 at 7:21 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- North Korea says it will recall 51,000 North Korean workers and suspend operations at a factory complex that is the last major symbol of cooperation with its southern rival.  

Pyongyang's statement today comes amid weeks of war threats and other efforts to punish South Korea and the U.S. for ongoing joint military drills. North Korea is also angry over the U.S.-led push for U.N. sanctions over its Feb. 12 nuclear test.

The complex combines cheap North Korean labor and South Korean know-how and technology. It is the last remaining inter-Korean rapprochement projects from previous eras of cooperation.

Many of the about 120 South Korean companies at Kaesong have recently faced serious challenges as North Korea has barred South Koreans and supply trucks from entering the complex for days.

A top South Korean official says he misspoke when he told lawmakers there is an "indication" that North Korea is preparing for a nuclear test. But that doesn't change what Seoul has been saying for months: that Pyongyang has already prepared a tunnel for a nuclear blast and can use it whenever it wants.

When a lawmaker asked earlier today whether there was an indication of increased personnel and vehicles at the North's nuclear test site, South Korea's Unification Minister said "there is such an indication." He said he couldn't say more because it involved confidential intelligence.

The comments were recorded on video, but the minister later told lawmakers he couldn't remember making them and didn't mean to say them. He said he was "startled" by reports carrying his earlier comments.

Over the weekend, a top White House adviser says he wouldn't be surprised If North Korea carried out another missile test, following weeks of belligerent rhetoric and actions.

Dan Pfeiffer tells "Fox News Sunday" that the communist regime needs to "take a step back," otherwise they will "further isolate themselves" and the North Korean people will continue to starve.

Sen. John McCain says China holds the key to curbing North Korea's belligerence. Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation," the Arizona Republican says the North's young leader Kim Jong Un is playing a game of brinksmanship that's been repeated for decades.

McCain says he doubts North Korea will ever agree to abandon its nuclear quest, because that would make the communist regime "irrelevant." He says China could bring pressure on the North by cutting it off economically.

 

Print
Email
|