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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Pyongyang expels S.Korean officials from joint industrial complex

RIA Novosti

27/03/2008 18:13 MOSCOW, March 27 (RIA Novosti) -- North Korea has expelled all 11 South Korean government officials from a joint office in the Kaesong industrial complex in a sign of strained ties with Seoul, the Yonhap news agency said on Thursday.

Seoul has said that the South Korea-funded industrial complex in Kaesong, in North Korean territory, will not be expanded unless progress is made in stalled negotiations on the communist state's nuclear programs.

Over 23,000 North Koreans are currently employed at 69 South Korean labor-intensive manufacturers operating at the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

Lee Myung-bak, the new South Korean president, has vowed to take a tough stance during negotiations with the North, and link further inter-Korean cooperation projects to progress in international negotiations over North Korea's nuclear programs.

Under an agreement reached last October between the United States, Japan, Russia, China, and North and South Korea, Pyongyang was to halt its nuclear programs and provide full information on nuclear activities by the end of 2007 in exchange for economic and political concessions. However, after the North missed the deadline, the six-way negotiations stalled.

Since the October deal, South Korea, China and Russia have each supplied North Korea with 50,000 metric tons of fuel oil.

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