N. Korea Suspends Train Link to South
Relations between the two Koreas have been tense since President Lee Myung-bak took office in Seoul in February with a pledge to change policy on the North. The tension also increased after the killing of a North Korean soldier shot dead a South Korean housewife who was touring the resort. North Korea announced Monday it was suspending the 18-month-old rail service across the border that has divided the peninsula since 1953 in protest of the "confrontational" policies of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.
North Korea Monday said it will suspend tours to Gaesong and cross-border rail services starting Dec. 1 in protest against Seoul's tough policy toward Pyongyang.
The North will also eject more South Korean personnel and vehicles from the joint Mount Geumgang resort and the industrial complex in Gaesong, Yonhap News reported quoting a statement by the North's military carried by the country's official Korean Central News Agency.
However, North Korea decided to ensure the operation of South Korean firms in the Gaeseong complex since they should not be a "scapegoat" of Seoul's "reckless confrontational policy" toward the North, according to a separate letter sent to the firms and unveiled by Seoul officials.
Earlier this month, Pyongyang had warned that it would restrict overland passages across the inter-Korean border, without elaborating on the exact moves it would take. Pyongyang closed its Red Cross mission and direct phone links at the truce village of Panmunjeom after the warning.
The statement said Monday's announcement is the "first step to cope with the prevailing grave situation."
Inter-Korean relations have soured since the conservative South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office in February. Lee has vowed that the expansion of inter-Korean projects will only follow North Korea's nuclear disarmament. The North has expelled all South Korean government officials from the resort and the industrial complex a month after the government's launch.
South Korea suspended tours to the resort mountain immediately after a North Korean soldier shot dead a South Korean housewife who was touring the resort.