Korean peninsula

From the NY Times:

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea blocked South Koreans on Wednesday from crossing the heavily armed border to a jointly operated industrial park, raising doubt about the future of the last remaining major symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

The move came four days after North Korea threatened to shut down the industrial park, in the North Korean town of Kaesong, out of anger over United Nations sanctions and joint military drills that the United States and South Korea are conducting on the Korean Peninsula.

More than 480 South Koreans — many with their trucks — who showed up at a border crossing Wednesday morning were denied permission to cross and had to turn around, said the Unification Ministry of South Korea, which is in charge of relations with the North. But North Korea promised to allow 861 South Koreans currently staying in Kaesong to return home if they wished, the ministry said. But with no replacements arriving, only 33 decided to return home on Wednesday.

“But with no replacements arriving, only 33 decided to return home…”  Really?  The fact that N. Korea is blocking your replacement from entering the country would motivate you to stay in N. Korea?  Sorry.  I’m not buying it.

NPR had a North Korea analyst on the other evening who said – paraphrasing – “So long as they don’t shut down the industrial park at Kaesong I won’t be too concerned about their sabre rattling.”  Apparently time to be concerned.

From the Christian Science Monitor:

“The North can fire 500,000 rounds of artillery on Seoul in the first hour of a conflict,” Victor Cha and David Kang wrote for Foreign Policy earlier this week.