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U.S. reaffirms support for 2016 closure of industrial park in N. Korea: report

All News 10:03 August 01, 2018

SEOUL, Aug. 1 (Yonhap) -- The United States has reaffirmed its support for South Korea's decision to shut down an inter-Korean industrial park in 2016 amid growing calls from North Korea to resume its operation as soon as possible, an American broadcaster reported.

"We support the 2016 decision to shut down the Kaesong complex in the face of the DPRK's destabilizing and provocative actions," Voice of America (VOA) quoted a State Department official as saying Tuesday, using the acronym of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The official added that the decision was based on concerns about North Korea's growing threat and flagrant disregard of multiple U.N. resolutions.

The reaffirmation came amid mounting demand from the North to speed up efforts to resume the operation of the industrial park located in the North's border town.

In February 2016, the then conservative Seoul government halted the operation of the industrial complex in the North's border town of Kaesong in retaliation for Pyongyang's missile and nuclear provocations.

The industrial park was regarded as a major inter-Korean cooperative project, along with a tour program at Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast, which was also suspended in July 2008.

On Tuesday, the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, criticized South Korea for dragging its feet in pushing for restarting the operation of the Kaesong park despite warming relations, saying that Seoul is making sanctions as an excuse to take action.

South Korea and the U.S. say that economic cooperation with the North should wait until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons program.


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