Kaesong said to remain quiet

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Kaesong said to remain quiet

North Korea has been reallocating its former workers from the Kaesong Industrial Complex to local factories and collective farms, South Korea’s unification minister said Tuesday, the latest update so far on the situation in the jointly run park, shuttered last month.

A ministerial task force met Tuesday to discuss the denuclearization of North Korea, where Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo asserted that some of the Communist state’s former Kaesong employees had been sent to local factories or collective farms, or even sent home, according to a source who participated in the meeting.

On Feb. 10, South Korea announced that the Kaesong Industrial Complex would be shut down as a punitive response to North Korea’s recent nuclear test and subsequent long-range missile launch.

The move followed the government’s conclusion that the regime was funneling revenue from the joint venture into its nuclear program.

A day after Seoul’s announcement, North Korea kicked out the South Korean operators from the park and seized the remaining assets, declaring it a military control zone. More than 120 South Korean companies ran operations inside the industrial complex, which employed approximately 54,000 North Korean workers.

The source quoted Hong as saying Tuesday that the South Korean government understood that North Korea had not yet decided on a definitive plan for how to operate the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

Hong added that there were no significant signs indicating that the park would be converted into a military base, explaining that the government had come to that conclusion based on a comprehensive review that analyzed military intelligence and observations from the Panmunjom truce village in the demilitarized zone.

BY KIM HYUNG-GOO, CHUN SU-JIN [kim.sohee0905@joongang.co.kr]
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