South Korea pulls out of Kaesong

posted at 3:21 pm on April 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The nearly month-long closure of the Kaesong joint industrial complex in North Korea appears to be permanent.  After receiving no positive response from Pyongyang in the 24-hour time limit demanded, Seoul has now ordered the remaining South Korean managers to abandon the plant:

Seoul decided Friday to withdraw the roughly 175 South Koreans still at a jointly run factory complex in North Korea.

The statement Friday by the country’s minister in charge of inter-Korean relations raised a major question about the future of the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

Seoul’s announcement came hours after North Korea rejected a South Korean demand for talks on the factory park that has been closed for nearly a month. Seoul said it was worried about its workers not having access to food and medicine.

It’s not that North Korea didn’t respond at all.  They did respond, but the reply was, er … typical:

Pyongyang’s powerful National Defense Commission earlier said Seoul’s demand for working-level talks was deceptive and similar future demands would “only speed up final destruction” of South Korea.

According to the BBC, the ultimatum was precipitated by Pyongyang, which refused to allow new supplies of food and medicine into the plant.  The BBC also reminds readers that we’ve seen this same conflict play out before, in the Mount Kumgang seizure that ended a joint tourism effort:

In 2011 North Korea said it seized assets from Mount Kumgang, a mothballed tourism site run by the two countries.

In other words, despite the starvation conditions in the North and the Kim regime’s desperation for hard currency, the ruling clique doesn’t appear all that inclined to work on peaceful reunification projects. That can’t all be put on Kim Jong-un and the transition.  The conflict over Mount Kumgang began in 2008 with the shooting of a South Korean tourist by a North Korean soldier, which caused the South to suspend operations in protest.  Rather than work to get it reopened, Kim Jong-il’s regime gave the South 72 hours to pack up and leave in 2011 before seizing another rare source of legitimate hard currency.  They currently operate the resort primarily for Chinese visitors, but are losing lots of opportunity for revenue there, too.

The South isn’t backing down, either.  Joint military drills continue with the US — this week focusing on amphibious assaults, which sends a rather unsubtle message to Pyongyang:

CNN’s Jim Clancy reports that China had asked the US to cancel this particular exercise, but who can resist a surfing expedition — especially in an armored vehicle? The US wants to keep the pressure on the Kim regime, and apparently on Beijing as well.

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I hope the South Koreans exercise a bit of scorched earth on the way out.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

CNN’s Jim Clancy reports that China had asked the US to cancel this particular exercise, but who can resist a surfing expedition — especially in an armored vehicle? The US wants to keep the pressure on the Kim regime, and apparently on Beijing as well.

Kilgore’s back? Does he still use a wide board?

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Do we have a ‘red line’ going on here too with bho/team on nk?
L

letget on April 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

CNN’s Jim Clancy reports that China had asked the US to cancel this particular exercise

anyone still thinking china is not pulling the strings irt North Korea hasn’t been paying attention

unseen on April 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM

I hope the South Koreans exercise a bit of scorched earth on the way out.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

yeah but its in North Korea so it could backfire and start some type of limited engagement.

unseen on April 26, 2013 at 3:30 PM

The corpulent creep is not even denounced by the tyrannical leftists of the world.

Hey, you morons, isn’t it odd to you that he’s the only corpulent in all pictures, with the exception of one general?

Media creeps, combust from dereliction of duty.

Schadenfreude on April 26, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Do we have a ‘red line’ going on here too with bho/team on nk?
L

letget on April 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

No,just a couple of white lines on his desk next to the choom box.

docflash on April 26, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Wow. It appears the only target North Korea can successfully shoot at and hit is their own foot.

alchemist19 on April 26, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Kilgore’s back? Does he still use a wide board?

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Who is Kilgore, did you mean Kilroy, as in Kilroy was here. The little feller peaking above a rock?

fourdeucer on April 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

The road to Utopia is paved with the bodies of famine-murdered millions … or, with the aborted millions, lovingly embraced by the Communist filth in the White House, Congress and the voting public.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 26, 2013 at 3:41 PM

CNN’s Jim Clancy reports that China had asked the US to cancel this particular exercise, but who can resist a surfing expedition — especially in an armored vehicle.

NORKie don’t surf….

apostic on April 26, 2013 at 3:41 PM

North Korea is China’s pet dog and North Korea does nothing substantial without China’s explicit or implicit OK.

VorDaj on April 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM

I hope the South Koreans exercise a bit of scorched earth on the way out.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Scorch what? 95% of the country is already that way.

Gatsu on April 26, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Who is Kilgore, did you mean Kilroy, as in Kilroy was here. The little feller peaking above a rock?

fourdeucer on April 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

This is Kilgore.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Scorch what? 95% of the country is already that way.

Gatsu on April 26, 2013 at 3:46 PM

That’s why I said “a bit” to return the industrial park to its pre-Hyundai investment state.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Good for the South !

Someone in DPRK is going to tell the young-Un that he f#cked-up.

Jabberwock on April 26, 2013 at 3:50 PM

This is Kilgore.

Steve Eggleston on April 26, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Thanks, it has been a long long time since I have seen Apocalypse Now.

fourdeucer on April 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Who is Kilgore, did you mean Kilroy, as in Kilroy was here. The little feller peaking above a rock?

fourdeucer on April 26, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Col. Kilgore, from “Apocalypse Now”

iurockhead on April 26, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Goodness at least blow the plant up after the last boatleaves. That’s all bullies understand.

Don L on April 26, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Those managers ought to disable the equipment in the factories before they leave. No sense in giving the NK’s assets to be used in competition….

unclesmrgol on April 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM

I suppose we’re still feeding the NK’s.

GarandFan on April 26, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Those managers ought to disable the equipment in the factories before they leave. No sense in giving the NK’s assets to be used in competition….

unclesmrgol on April 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM

If SK has any brains at all they will have (quietly) done this. While we’d all like to see them turn the place into Wyatt’s Torch on the way out and with the tank crews giving the middle finger as they drive away, that would really not be wise.

MelonCollie on April 26, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Good for South Korea!

Thanks for your lackluster advice, MelonKillie.

By the way it’s the ROK not SK, MC…

Sherman1864 on April 26, 2013 at 9:43 PM

Colonel Kilgore, as in “Charlie don’t surf”, and “I love the smell of napalm in the morning. Smells like … victory.”

KJU keeps it up, lots of his folks are going to find out what napalm smells like. And HEI.

And North Korea should never again invest in a “joint reunification” project which exists entirely north of the border, using South Korean brains and North Korean labor. How can they not know that some itty-bitty disagreement will precipitate it being seized, in the hopes of continuing to generate revenue which the North would then not have to share.

Someone send a few copies of Atlas Shrugged to Seoul. Or The Fountainhead, if they want the condensed version.

Freelancer on April 28, 2013 at 1:49 AM

This whole thing is flupped up. Can’t South Korea just make all food free at the lunch counter here? That news would go so far into North Korea it’s not even funny.

And it would cost next to nothing.

Kevin M on April 28, 2013 at 11:28 PM