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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, January 22, 2018

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South Korea to shut down joint industrial park with North Korea

Angry reaction to North Korea

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SEOUL, South Korea - In an expected angry reaction to North Korea's recent rocket launch, South Korea on Wednesday shutdown an inter-Korean industrial park that is a key source of income to Pyongyang.> Big News Network

Japan also followed the suit and imposed sanctions against North Korea amid growing regional tension after North Korea recently launched a rocket to put a satellite in orbit which is being suspected of actually being a ballistic missile test.

South Korea accused the North of using hard currency from the Kaesong Industrial Complex to develop its nuclear and missile programmes.

South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, said it would "completely shut down" operations at the industrial park, which sits just north of the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea.

The complex was opened in 2004 when the divided rival neighbours had friendly inter-Korean relations. The industrial park has been a rare symbol of cooperation between the two sides.

Under the arrangement, 124 South Korean companies employ about 50,000 North Korean workers in light manufacturing work at the complex which was the last major cooperation project between the two.

The park has provided $560 million of cash to impoverished North Korea, Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo said.

"It appears that such funds have not been used to pave the way to peace as the international community had hoped, but rather to upgrade its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles," the minister said in a televised briefing.

The unification ministry said in a statement that the government had "decided to completely shut down" the park.

South Korea's government will provide financial compensation to companies that operate at Kaesong, the finance ministry said in a statement.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Japan won't allow money transfers except those below about $870 for humanitarian purposes to North Korea.

The official said that such transactions would require anyone traveling to North Korea carrying more than that amount to declare it.

In addition, Tokyo would bar North Korean ships and third-country ships that have visited North Korea from entering Japanese ports, Suga said.

There was no immediate reaction to the move from North Korea.

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