Saturday, March 14, 2009

North Korea Closes Border Posts, Stranding Hundreds From South

(Bloomberg) -- North Korea shut its two southern border crossings for the second time this week, stranding almost 800 South Koreans and increasing tensions as the communist nation prepares to launch a rocket that the South says may be a missile.

Some 730 South Koreans, three Chinese nationals and an Australian are at North Korea’s Gaeseong Industrial Complex, South Korea’s Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Ho Nyoun told reporters today in Seoul. Those at Gaeseong were working for some of the 90 mostly South Korean companies with plants there, Kim said. The rest are trapped at the Mount Geumgang crossing.

“North Korea’s actions damage the mutual trust between the North and the South, and help neither side,” Kim said. “The South Korean government expresses its deep regret at the repetition of such actions, and urges North Korea to immediately return operations to normal.” It isn’t clear when the stranded people will be allowed to return to South Korea, he said.

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