Daily Management Review

South Korea’s Pullout from Kaesong Complex is 'Declaration of War' says North Korea


South Korea’s Pullout from Kaesong Complex is 'Declaration of War' says North Korea
Calling Seoul’s withdrawal from the jointly run plant a “dangerous declaration of war”, North Korea has ordered a military takeover of an industrial complex that was the last significant symbol of cooperation with South Korea.
Pyongyang said was it pulling its workers from the Kaesong complex and deporting South Koreans in what is the latest escalation of tensions between the two countries. Following North Korea’s long-range rocket launch on Sunday, Seoul had already announced the suspension of its operations there.
Those workers who were still preset at Kaesong said that they had been instructed to wait for more information even as some South Korean workers had already left the place before Pyongyang’s announcement.
The shutting down of two crucial cross-border communications hotlines was also announced by Pyongyang.
While the defense ministry could not confirm the reports, a South Korean news agency, Yonhap, said Seoul had bolstered military readiness along the western portion of the border.
Kaesong which was opened in 2004 and survived repeated crises is viewed as a symbol of the “sunshine” reconciliation policy of the late 1990s.

The only occasion when it was shut down was in 2013 when Pyongyang effectively shut down the zone for five months by withdrawing its 53,000 workers during a period of heightened cross-border tensions.
In order to retrieve finished goods and equipment after Seoul accused North Korea of using the hard-currency that it earned from Kaesong to fund its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, hundreds of South Korean trucks crossed the border on Thursday morning. South Korea has said that the decision was unavoidable.
As South Korean president Park Geun-hye formulates a response to the recent rocket launch and last month’s nuclear test, the closure is thought to be one of the most powerful non-military options open to her. The launch was a covert test of missile technology that could potentially be used to target the US mainland with nuclear warheads, believes South Korea and its allies.
Footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un travelling on his private jet to supervise preparations for Sunday’s long-range rocket launch was released by Pyongyang. Footage of what appeared to be the first-stage booster separating from the rocket as it flew into space, seen from an onboard camera were also aired on North Korean state TV which also showed the lift-off of the Unha rocket from a newly expanded launch tower.
The jet, which has been described in state media as his private jet, footage of Kim was shown having discussions with military aides on the plane as he flew to the Tongchang-ri rocket station on a Russian-built Ilyushin jet.
The US now regarded Pyongyang, rather than Iran, as the world’s most worrying nuclear threat, said the US national intelligence director, James Clapper as he warned that North Korea had expanded its production of weapons-grade nuclear fuel.
Following the rocket launch, sanctions against North Korea have been tightened by the US and its Asian allies. In a new bill that sought to punish anyone importing goods, technology or training related to weapons of mass destruction, or engaging in human rights abuses was passed unanimously in the US Senate. Seizure of assets, visa bans and denial of government contracts would be the penalties.  
While China, the only ally of North Korea in Asia, has been resisting the US-led push for tougher UN sanctions, Japan announced plans to stop North Korean ships from entering Japanese ports and bar North Koreans from entering Japan.

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