North Korea restricts movement across border with south

December 1st, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Dec 1 (RIA Novosti) North Korea Monday enforced restrictions on cross-border movement with South Korea and suspended rail link in protest against Seoul’s “hostile policies”.The measures were announced a week ago by North Korean state media, which accused the South Korean government of failure to honour bilateral summit agreements reached in 2000 and 2007.

South Korean Unification Minister Kim Ha-Joong said in a statement Pyongyang’s measures “can never be justified” and “must be repealed immediately”.

Hundreds of South Koreans who had been working at the Kaesong industrial complex just across the North Korean border have left the country over the past week, putting under threat the joint project, which brings much-needed revenue to the impoverished communist North.

The North Korean military pledged last week to “selectively expel” South Koreans working at the industrial zone. However, Pyongyang has stopped short of closing down the complex.

Analysts have warned that a full closure of complex, at which over 32,000 North Koreans work on labour-intensive light-industry projects run by South Korean companies, would deal a severe blow to bilateral relations.

North-South ties have deteriorated since President Lee Myung-bak came to power in South Korea in February. The new president has demanded more progress in the North’s denuclearization in return for the economic support provided by the South.

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