North Korean state-run outlets Uriminzokkiri and Arirang-Meari claimed on Friday that the factories in the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) will be “more vigorously operated” in the future.
The editorials come in response to a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report on Monday claiming that Pyongyang has been running secret garment factories at the formerly inter-Korean industrial zone.
The North downplayed the coverage, saying the “puppets” were “clamoring” about the operation of the KIC, describing it as an “ugly trick to mislead public opinion.”
“We make it clear once again that the U.S. and their subordinates will not able to block our powerful advancement no matter how they bark and struggle to strengthen sanctions and pressures,” Uriminzokkiri said. “…the factories in the industrial zone will be more vigorously operated.”
Uriminzokkiri said the reports were “nothing more than death throes” of those who were “frightened” that the North was not dissuaded by the international community’s imposition of sanctions.
“They will clearly see how our workers are proudly working now unless their eyes are not blind,” the media said. “No one should care about no matter what we do in the industrial zone where the DPRK exercises the sovereignty.”
South Korea unilaterally closed the inter-Korean industrial park on February 10 last year, in the wake of Pyongyang’s fourth nuclear test and test-launch of a long-range missile on February 7.
In response to the closure, North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea (CPRK) issued a statement saying that Pyongyang would “completely freeze all assets including equipment, materials and products of the South Korean enterprises.”
Arirang-Meari also reported on Friday that the U.S. and South Korea had mobilized to make “nonsense” about the KIC.
The media said the reports had “evoked a wry smile” in the DPRK, as they suggested that Washington and Seoul had been unable to detect the North Korean workers “who work at the Kaesong Industrial Zone full of energy,” despite their advanced surveillance equipment.
“There is a saying that a procession moves even if dogs bark,” Arirang-Meari said. “The factories in the Kaesong Industrial Zone will be more vigorously operated and the life of our people will be more improved no matter how the hostile forces struggle.”
Despite the North’s claims that work was taking place at the complex, satellite imagery of the area on Friday did not show any significant activity in recent months.
RFA reported on Monday that the North has been operating clothing factories at the KIC for over half a year, and that the factories were being primarily used to produce garments for sale abroad.
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification (MOU) on Friday reiterating its opposition to the theft of South Korean assets in the KIC by the DPRK.
“North Korea should not infringe our property rights in the Kaesong Industrial Complex,” an official at the unification ministry – who wished to remain anonymous – told media. “There is no change in the existing position regarding the Kaesong Industrial Complex.”
In late April, imagery showed that more than a hundred South Korean cars once parked at the KIC were seen missing, after which Seoul protested that the vehicles had been impounded illegally.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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