The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a country in East Asia, located in the northern half of the Korean Peninsula bordering South Korea and China. Its capital, Pyongyang, is the country's largest city by both land area and population. It is a single-party state led by the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), and governed by Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un since 2012. It has a population of 24,052,231 (UN-assisted DPRK census 2008) made up of Koreans and a smaller Chinese minority. Japan 'opened' Korea in 1876 and annexed it in 1910. The Republic of Korea (ROK) was founded with US support in the south in August 1948 and the Soviet-backed Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the north in September that year.
North Korea threatens to scrap joint industrial zone
North Korea has warned South Korea it might scrap their joint-venture industrial zone if Seoul links the project to sanctions over the North’s rocket launch in December, a report said on Thursday.
The Kaesong Industrial Complex, on the North Korean side of the border, is the flagship economic link between the two Koreas.
It hosts more than 120 South Korean companies which employ 53,000 North Koreans producing labour-intensive products such as garments, footwear and kitchen utensils.
Having started production in late 2004, the symbol of reconciliation has remained largely immune to the fluctuations of inter-Korean ties including the 2010 shelling of a South Korean island.
But the North reacted sharply after Seoul’s Unification Ministry said on Monday it would tighten inspection of industrial parts and materials going to Kaesong to reflect the latest UN Security Council sanctions on Pyongyang.
“If anyone touches Kaesong, even to the slightest degree and in whatever form, we would take it as a vicious sanction against us,” a spokesman for the North’s National Economic Cooperation Committee said in a statement.
“We would withdraw all our favours for Kaesong and turn the area back into a military zone,” he was quoted as saying by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency.
The spokesman stressed that the North had sacrificed a frontline border area with a high military value to make room for the complex.
The two Koreas remain technically at war, since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
“We have no intention of putting a damper on Kaesong or creating obstacles to its operations,” a spokeswoman for the South’s Unification Ministry insisted on Thursday.
Pyongyang launched a long-range rocket carrying a satellite in December, sparking international condemnation and further sanctions over what was widely seen as a disguised ballistic missile test.
In response to the sanctions, the North has threatened to conduct a nuclear test which is expected to happen over the next few days.