North Korea vows to snap hotlines with South over Kaesong shutdown
Pyongyang : Pyongyang’s recent rocket launch and Seoul’s withdrawal on co-participation in Kaesong complex — has now taken a new dimension today as North Korea has done a deja vu of communication snap, and has declared Kaesong industrial park as military zone. When north carried out nuclear tests, Seoul decided to carry out the suspension of work-in-progress, and said this was aimed at cutting off money that the North was spending mindlessly on nuclear and missile development.
North Korea has vowed to cut two crucial communication hotlines with the South, and declared that Kaesong industrial park — a joint industrial complex operated together by both sides, is now a military zone. North Korea has called the shutdown ‘a declaration of war.’ The hotlines, which are intended to defuse dangerous military situations, include a hotline used by the military, and another line used to communicate with the UN Command at Panmunjom in the Demilitarised Zone. A third hotline is used by the Red Cross.
Kaesong, one of the last points of co-operation between the two Koreas, is a major source of revenue for Pyongyang. This Joint industrial complex, Kaesong, is located inside North Korea just across from the demilitarised zone. The complex, functional since 2004, fuels the economically-parched North side and stands as a source of financial strength for the badly-needed cashbase for the North. A large industrial hub, Kaesong industrial complex comprises of work base of more that 124 companies which operate in it, with businesses ranging from clothing, textiles, car parts and semiconductors. The financial arrangement in the complex is such that South side distributes wages, and North side get employment and salaries. South Korean firms pay about $100m (£69m) a year in wages. About 54,000 North Koreans work there in the complex enterprises.
A dispute of military nature between both sides had resulted in shut down, earlier in April 2013. The shut down, which had lasted for four months, had resumed when both sides had pacified and the relationship between them had improved. – after US-South Korean military drills angered North Korea.
Tensions between both sides of Korea has been accelerating following Pyongyang’s nuclear test last month and its launching of a satellite on Sunday. On retaliation, today Pyongyang vowed to immediately expel South Korean workers from Kaesong, and seize the assets of companies working there. On the other hand, South Korean companies have already started withdrawing managers, equipment and stock, after Seoul had announced the suspension.