North Korea reopens border with South for commuters

March 17th, 2009 - 3:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, March 17 (DPA) North Korea Tuesday allowed hundreds of South Koreans access to a joint industrial park after closing down its borders for several days to protest joint US-South Korean military exercises.
Pyongyang allowed the entry of 500 South Koreans while at the same time 300 South Koreans who had been stranded at the Kaesong industrial complex in the North for days were allowed to leave, the Defence Ministry in Seoul said.

The reopening of the heavily guarded border crossing also allowed for the more than 90 South Korean companies operating at Kaesong to receive deliveries of urgently needed raw materials.

On Monday, the Stalinist state opened the border for hundreds of South Koreans who were stuck at Kaesong but denied entry.

North Korea closed the border Friday for the second time in a week while the country’s army put its troops on full alert to protest the annual US-South Korean military manoeuvres.

Pyongyang also cut communications with the South, shutting down a hot line used for registering travellers to Kaesong.

Already in December, Pyongyang mothballed its only train link to its southern neighbour and cut down on border traffic to the Kaesong complex, which was established to promote reconciliation between the two neighbours.

North Korea’s leaders accuse Seoul of pursuing a confrontational policy after the conservative government of President Lee Myung Bak linked economic aid to progress on Pyongyang’s nuclear disarmament.

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