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DPRK to withdraw all workers from Kaesong industrial zone


17:27, April 08, 2013

SEOUL, April 8 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Monday that it would withdraw all DPRK workers from the joint industrial park at the DPRK's border town of Kaesong.

Yonhap News Agency cited the statement by Kim Yang Gon, secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, released by the KCNA news agency. "(The DPRK) pulls out all our employees working at the Kaesong industrial zone," Kim said."( The DPRK) tentatively halts the industrial zone project, and will review whether to maintain or abolish (the zone)."

Kim stressed that it would be totally up to the South Korean authorities'behavior regarding how the situation would develop down the road.

The statement came shortly after Kim visited the inter-Korean industrial complex earlier in the morning. According to South Korea's Unification Ministry, Kim and other DPRK officials stayed at the industrial zone from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday. During their tour, the officials visited the relevant DPRK departments at Kaesong and some South Korean companies.

The sudden announcement came six days after Pyongyang banned the entry of South Korean workers and cargo to the industrial zone, causing a disruption in production by some companies.

The pullout of all DPRK workers would actually stop operations at the joint industrial park that is housing 123 South Korean companies and employing some 54,000 DPRK workers.

Tensions have been running high in the Korean Peninsula since the DPRK conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12 in a protest against the joint military drills between Seoul and Washington.

The DPRK declared that it entered"a state of war" with South Korea, threatening to launch a preemptive nuclear strike for self- defense. It mentioned military bases in the U.S. territory of Guam and the U.S. state of Hawaii as possible targets.

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