Kaesong in Inter-Korean Line of Fire

North Korea has responded to South Korean plans to step up inspections of goods entering the Kaesong Industrial Complex by threatening to return the whole area to its former military use.

In a Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) article released today, “S. Korea Will Have to Pay Dearly for ‘Sanctions’ Against KIZ,” a spokesperson for North Korea’s National Economic Cooperation Committee (NECC) declared, “The puppet Ministry of Unification of South Korea said in a business report to ‘the National Assembly’ on February 4th that inspections will be intensified of the things carried into the Kaesong Industrial Zone (KIZ).”

However, the piece warned, “We hope the KIZ will continue operating in the spirit of the June 15th era of reunification, but if anyone makes any form of provocation against the KIZ, we will consider it a vicious ‘sanction’ against us and take such resolute counter-action as withdrawing all privileges for the KIZ and restoring the area to a military zone.”

The bellicose rhetoric refers to a February 4th report from the Ministry of Unification to the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs, Trade and Unification Committee in which it declared, “We will implement the UN sanctions resolutions effectively, and impose appropriate penalties on provocations,” adding that things entering the Kaesong zone will be more thoroughly inspected.

“This step is another reckless action to escalate confrontation with [North Korea], and a criminal act putting inter-Korean relations into an inescapable collapse,” the KCNA piece asserted.