South Korean "humanitarian" delegation denied entry to Kaesong

Featured Korea - April 18th, 2013
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North Korea has again blocked South Koreans from going about their business in the border region.

A group of South Korean businessmen carrying food and other daily necessities for their staff were denied entry to the shuttered Kaesong industrial zone on Wednesday.

Ten representatives of the 123 South Korean firms operating in Kaesong – which lies 10 kilometers (6 miles) into the North Korean side –  had sought permission to visit and bring supplies for their staff.

Of the nearly 900 South Korean workers in the zone, around 200 staff remained inside the complex since Pyongyang cut off all access to the area on April 13, leaving them without supplies of daily necessities, reports AFP.

But the request from the South Koren delegation was turned down by Pyongyang.

“It is very regrettable that the North has rejected the request and disallowed a humanitarian measure,” Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-Seok said.

“We again strongly urge the North Korean authorities to take responsible measures for meeting the most basic needs of the staff at Kaesong,” Kim said.

Seoul offered to engage in a dialogue with Pyongyang after the North withdrew all its 53,000 workers and suspended operations.

North Korea dismissed the talks as a “crafty trick” used by South Korea to shift responsibility for Kaesong’s closure, which it says was driven by Seoul’s policy of “confrontation” and “war-mongering” statements.

“The puppet regime can never escape from the criminal responsibility for putting Kaesong in this grave situation,” the North’s state body in charge of the industrial complex said in a statement.