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  Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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The North Korean government said on Wednesday that it would close
The North Korean government said on Wednesday that it would close its land border with the South, citing Seoul's confrontational attitude and failure to honor bilateral agreements.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said: "The confrontation with the DPRK kicked up by the South Korean puppet authorities is going beyond the danger level, despite repeated warnings."

The agency said the measures would come into force on December 1.

The government accused Seoul of "grave and wanton violations of all the North-South [summit] agreements made according to the declarations."

After coming to power in February, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said he would review agreements reached at the 2000 and 2007 inter-Korean summits, and demand more in return from the North for the economic support provided by Seoul.

Pyongyang has also been angered by leaflets sent over the border in balloons by South Korean activists, criticizing North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his government.

In response to the statement, South Korea's Unification Ministry warned that the closure of the border would harm relations.

"North Korea's announcement that it will take measures to limit passage across the border is regrettable," ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyoun was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying.

"If the North carries out such measures, it will have a negative impact on efforts to improve inter-Korean relations," he said.

Tougher border controls would also put under threat work at the Kaesong joint industrial complex in North Korea, where 35,000 North Koreans are employed by South Korean companies. The complex brings much-needed revenues to the impoverished communist state.

South Korean Unification Minister Kim Ha-Joong said on Tuesday the government would do everything in its power to ensure that the complex continues to function.

The move comes amid increasing speculation over the health of Kim Jong-il. Reports say he may have suffered at least one stroke. North Korea has denied this. (The Korean Demilitarized Zone - Image Gallery)


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