The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

April 8, 2013

North Korea recalling workers from jointly run factory

(Continued)

South Korea's finance minister, Hyun Oh-seok, said Monday that it is "quite ridiculous" for North Korea to be closing the border at Kaesong. "North Korea has nothing to gain from these kinds of things," he said at a news briefing.

Hyun said the government is looking at ways to help Kaesong firms.

A South Korean worker in Kaesong reached by the Associated Press on the phone said she did not know if North Korean workers would come to work Tuesday. She also said she didn't know when she would return to the South.

"Everyone left work (for their living quarters at Kaesong) before we heard the news from North Korea," she said. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not allowed to speak to reporters without authorization.

Daemyung Blue Jeans Inc., which does business in Kaesong, has not received any news from North Korea, CEO Choi Dongjin said. He said he heard news of the withdrawal on TV. He said he was trying to get in touch with his managers in Kaesong and hadn't spoken with them since Monday morning.

"We have seven (South Korean) workers in Kaesong. We don't know what to do about them," Choi, who is in Seoul, said by phone.

North Korea has unnerved the international community by orchestrating an escalating campaign of bombast in recent weeks. It has threatened to fire nuclear missiles at the U.S. and claimed it had scrapped the 1953 armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War.

Last week it told foreign diplomats based in Pyongyang that it will not be able to guarantee their safety as of Wednesday. Embassy workers appeared to be staying put as of Monday but foreign ministries around the world were continuing to evaluate the situation.

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