One of our long time fears is what could happen to the South Koreans at the Kaesong Industrial Complex. This is a scenario that will be very complex if those South Koreans are "held hostage" and not allowed to return to the South (if it goes beyond being "stranded" as in 2009)
North Korea says it has cut key military hotline
By HYUNG-JIN KIM | Associated Press – 1 hr 3 mins ago
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Raising tensions with South Korea yet again, North Korea cut a military hotline that has been essential in operating the last major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation: an industrial complex in the North that employs hundreds of workers from the South.
There was no immediate word about what cutting one of the few remaining official North-South links would mean for South Korean workers who were at the Kaesong industrial complex. When the link was last cut, in 2009, many South Koreans were stranded in the North.
The hotline shutdown is the latest of many threats and provocative actions from North Korea, which is angry over U.S.-South Korean military drills and recent U.N. sanctions punishing it for its Feb. 12 nuclear test. In a statement announcing the shutdown, the Northrepeated its claim that war may break out any moment.
Outside North Korea, Pyongyang's actions are seen in part as an effort to spur dormant diplomatic talks to wrest outside aid, and to strengthen internal loyalty to young leader Kim Jong Un and build up his military credentials.
South Korean officials said that about 750 South Koreans were in Kaesong on Wednesday, and that the two Koreas had normal communications earlier in the day over the hotline when South Korean workers traveled back and forth to the factory park as scheduled.
Workers at Kaesong could also be contacted directly by phone from South Korea on Wednesday.
A South Korean worker for Pyxis, a company that produces jewelry cases at Kaesong, said in a phone interview that he was worried about a possible delay in production if cross-border travel is banned again.
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