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Tensions mount along the DMZ as North Korea closes access to shared industrial complex

A South Korean employee, top right, working at the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), speaks to the media upon his arrival at South Korea's CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) office, just south of the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, north of Seoul, April 3. North Korean authorities were not allowing any South Korean workers into a joint industrial park on Wednesday, South Korea's Unification Ministry and a Reuters witness said, adding to tensions between the two countries.
A South Korean employee, top right, working at the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC), speaks to the media upon his arrival at South Korea's CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) office, just south of the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, north of Seoul, April 3. North Korean authorities were not allowing any South Korean workers into a joint industrial park on Wednesday, South Korea's Unification Ministry and a Reuters witness said, adding to tensions between the two countries.Kim Hong-ji / Reuters
A man uses his mobile phone in front of a specialty shop selling North Korean products, at South Korea's CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) office, just south of the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, north of Seoul, on April 3. North Korean authorities were not allowing any South Korean workers into a joint industrial park on Wednesday, South Korea's Unification Ministry and a Reuters witness said, adding to tensions between the two countries.
A man uses his mobile phone in front of a specialty shop selling North Korean products, at South Korea's CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) office, just south of the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas, in Paju, north of Seoul, on April 3. North Korean authorities were not allowing any South Korean workers into a joint industrial park on Wednesday, South Korea's Unification Ministry and a Reuters witness said, adding to tensions between the two countries.Kim Hong-ji / Reuters
South Korean soldiers patrol at the border with North Korea in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near Imjingak in Gyeonggi-do Province, South Korea, on April 2. North Korea said it plans to restart its five megawatt nuclear reactor that was shut down under an agreement reached at the six-party talks in 2007, a move that will allow the North to extract plutonium from spent fuel rods.
South Korean soldiers patrol at the border with North Korea in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near Imjingak in Gyeonggi-do Province, South Korea, on April 2. North Korea said it plans to restart its five megawatt nuclear reactor that was shut down under an agreement reached at the six-party talks in 2007, a move that will allow the North to extract plutonium from spent fuel rods.Jeon Heon-kyun / EPA
South Korea soldiers inside transit office at the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Gyeonggi province, South Korea, on April 3. North Korea on April 3 blocked South Korean employees from entering the industrial complex operated jointly by the two countries, only allowing workers to leave, a Seoul official said.
South Korea soldiers inside transit office at the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Gyeonggi province, South Korea, on April 3. North Korea on April 3 blocked South Korean employees from entering the industrial complex operated jointly by the two countries, only allowing workers to leave, a Seoul official said.Jeon Heon-kyun / EPA
A US Air Force F-22 Raptor takes off at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, South Korea, on April 3. The US military said it has deployed two F-22 Raptor stealth jets to South Korea as part of ongoing joint military exercises with South Korea. The deployment of the stealth jets marked the latest show of force against North Korea, which issues daily threats of war amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
A US Air Force F-22 Raptor takes off at Osan Air Base, south of Seoul, South Korea, on April 3. The US military said it has deployed two F-22 Raptor stealth jets to South Korea as part of ongoing joint military exercises with South Korea. The deployment of the stealth jets marked the latest show of force against North Korea, which issues daily threats of war amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula.Yonhap / EPA
A North Korean soldier looks at the southern side through a pair of binoculars at the border village of the Panmunjom (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, on March 19. The United States is flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers on training missions over South Korea to highlight Washington's commitment to defend an ally amid rising tensions with North Korea, Pentagon officials said.
A North Korean soldier looks at the southern side through a pair of binoculars at the border village of the Panmunjom (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, on March 19. The United States is flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers on training missions over South Korea to highlight Washington's commitment to defend an ally amid rising tensions with North Korea, Pentagon officials said.Lee Jin-man / AP

By Alastair Jamieson and Andrea Mitchell, NBC News

North Korea has banned South Korean workers from the jointly run Kaesong industrial zone in the latest escalation of the diplomatic crisis surrounding the rogue nuclear state.

Seoul said about 800 South Koreans who had stayed overnight at the complex were being allowed to return home, but that new workers were not being allowed across the border.

Kaesong, a major source of income for the impoverished, communist North, is home to 124 South Korean companies that employ 53,000 North Korean workers in a cross-border, heavily fortified joint enterprise. Permission is granted on a daily basis for South Korean workers to cross into the complex, situated in the North, the BBC reported. Continue reading.

 

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