South Korea to pull out all workers from its joint industrial zone with North Korea

Friday 26 April 2013 10.44
South Korea to pull remaining workers out of Kaesong Industrial zone
South Korea to pull remaining workers out of Kaesong Industrial zone

South Korea has said it will pull out all remaining workers from the Kaesong Industrial zone in North Korea.

The move comes after North Korea rejected a call for formal talks to resolve a standoff.

The standoff led to a suspension of operations at the complex.

About 170 South Koreans are left in Kaesong, which is just on the North Korean side of the border with the South.

The North withdrew its 53,000 workers from the complex earlier this month amid spiralling tension between the two Koreas.

The North has prevented South Korean workers and supplies from getting in to the zone since 3 April .

North Korea said the South has acted in an "unpardonable" manner to jeopardise a "precious" legacy of the rivals' bid to seek peace.

The North's National Defence Commission said what it saw as the reckless behaviour of the South had thrown into question the safety of the zone's operation.

The Kaesong industrial zone opened in 2004 as part of a so-called sunshine policy of engagement and optimism between the two Koreas.

Around 123 South Korean companies set up small- and medium-sized factories in the park and South Korean manufacturers have been paying about $130 (€99) a month to North Korea for each of the workers they employed.

North Korea said the US and the South were to blame because of what it sees as threatening US and South Korean military exercises.

South Korea had proposed formal talks between the governments yesterday as South Korean workers who remained at Kaesong were believed to be running out of food and other supplies.