North Korea has been engaged in a massive display of sabre-rattling in recent days, declaring that it was in a “state of war” with its far wealthier and more powerful southern neighbour. It has also cut a military hotline between the two countries that was one of the few ways that senior North and South Korean officials could talk to each other, adding to a sharp sense of unease about events on the Korean peninsula.
Now North Korea has explicitly said that it may target the Kaesong industrial park – an important trade zone that is run jointly with South Korean expertise and North Korean labour. Kaesong is a vital source of foreign currency for the North and has been operating normally so far, despite the bellicose warnings dominating headlines in both Koreas.
A spokesman for the North Korean department controlling Kaesong was quoted by the country’s state news agency as warning the country would “shut down the zone without mercy” if it felt it was not being taken seriously.
Recent weeks have seen a torrent of bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang threatening dire consequences for both South Korea and the US. North Korea is angry about the annual South Korea-US military drills, which will run until the end of April, and at the UN sanctions imposed after it carried out another nuclear test in February.
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