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South Korea Pulls Out of North

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Published on Nov 26, 2008

South Korea's unification ministry says officials will leave an industrial enclave in North Korea on Friday. This is in preparation of the North's plans to close their armed border next Monday.
North Korea said on November 24th that it would be expelling South Korean officials and some business managers from the Kaesong factory park on Dec. 1 and clamp down on border crossing. This is in anger at South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's policy to get tough on Pyongyang.

The Kaesong factory park just north of the border and about 70 km from Seoul is the only major economic tie between the two Koreas. Nearly 90 South Korean companies employ more than 33,000 low-wage North Koreans to produce goods such as watches, clothes and kitchen tools.

[Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho-nyeon]: "Since the North told us to leave, it's not right to resist it, so we're pulling out smoothly since the South and North agreed and the decision is directly connected to our people's safety, which is the
priority."

About 1,600 South Koreans are based in Pyongyang. Many of the managers at the park are expected to remain to keep the factories running.

The border closing comes about a week before North Korea sits down with regional powers who are
pressing it to give up its nuclear arms program in return for massive aid.

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