N. Korea: A day of fury over South Korea’s ‘brazen’ move
South Korea has reacted angrily to a move by the North to ban visitors from South Korea from its main trade route, the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
The ban comes a day after a UN Security Council panel said North Korea had violated UN sanctions by its actions in a failed missile test and a second nuclear test.
A report by the Security Council’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had called for the ban to be lifted on Friday, and that the country had no plans to resume trade with South Korea.
North Korea said it would not lift the ban as the move was a “violation of international law and would have a devastating impact on the Korean peninsula”.
“It is not our business whether we are allowed to enter the South or not, but our trade with the Republic of Korea will be suspended indefinitely,” said a North Korean official, who gave his name as Ri Yong-chol.
“We will not accept this situation.”
It is a significant step for the country which has been under heavy economic sanctions for decades.
“There are more important things to worry about than what North Korea thinks is a humanitarian crisis, especially since the situation in South Korea is still dire,” said the North’s foreign ministry spokesman, Kim Yong-hyun.
He said the move to ban South Koreans from the KaESCs main trade lane was “a provocation to undermine the situation on the peninsula”.
The North has threatened to halt the South’s annual pilgrimage to the Kaepjeong-dong Buddhist temple on its northeastern border with China.
North Korean leader’s latest outburst was the latest sign of a deteriorating situation between the world’s two largest economies.
North Korea has been in a prolonged economic freeze since April.
The United States and South Korea have been on a high-level diplomatic offensive aimed at resolving the North Korean crisis.
The South has been seeking to persuade the North that it is on the verge of abandoning its nuclear weapons programme and abandoning a policy of hard sanctions.
North Koreans were due to celebrate the birthday of Kim Il-sung on Saturday with a military parade and a parade of military personnel to mark the 105th birth anniversary of the late leader.