May 27, 2010 07:46
North Korea on Wednesday threatened to to block all cross-border traffic to the joint Kaesong Industrial Complex. The threat came in a message from the chief North Korean delegate to inter-Korean military talks.
The North warned it will "ban the passage of South Korean personnel and vehicles to the jointly controlled area in the west coast region" if the South resumes propaganda broadcasts along the demilitarized zone.
This means the North is effectively closing the industrial park, threatening some 500 South Koreans still stationed there.
But a senior government official said, "We won't be intimidated by the threat. At the moment, we have no plan to retract the decision to resume psychological warfare."
"Of course we are considering ways to pull South Korean personnel out of the industrial park all at once, but that won't be easy without facing any North Korean attempt to stop them, and staffers of some businesses may insist on staying put," the official added.
The North Korean delegate also reiterated threats to "fire aimed shots at each and every one of the South Korean loudspeakers as soon as they are installed," while calling the South's installation of loudspeakers a "military provocation" against the North.
The North has once before left South Korean staffers stranded at the industrial park by cutting off military communication lines in protest against a joint South Korean-U.S. military exercise last year.
North Korea on Wednesday made good threats to expel South Korean officials at the Inter-Korean economic cooperation office from the industrial park and cut off five communication lines for the liaison office in the truce village of Panmunjom and two communication links between maritime authorities of the two sides.
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