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N. Korea threatens to permanently shut down Kaesong park
SEOUL, April 4 (Yonhap) -- One day after North Korea suspended South Koreans' entry to the joint inter-Korean industrial park in the North's town of Kaesong, the communist country threatened to permanently shut down the economic cooperation project on Thursday, stating they have nothing to gain from the park.

   "The reason why we did not shut down the Kaesong Industrial Park even during these war time conditions is because the livelihood of South Korean small- and medium-size firms depends on this and the closure of (the park) will lead to massive unemployment of South Koreans," the Internet-based television unit of Uriminzokkiri, the main propaganda Web site, said.

   If the South Korean government continues to issue reckless remarks on the Kaesong zone, "the stern action to entirely shut down the Kaesong industrial park will be taken at any time," according to the TV unit.

   The joint industrial park is now beneficial to only South Korean firms and the North gains no interest from it, the country said.

   The threat came one day after the North put a ban on the entry of South Koreans workers and vehicles into the industrial zone in Kaesong, only allowing departures from the area.

   More than 800 South Korean workers are currently staying in the park, with about 200 of them scheduled to head to the South on Thursday ahead of the weekend.

   The latest threat came after a series of bellicose rhetoric from the North, including threats to launch nuclear attacks on the U.S. and the South amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

   The South Korean government has called for normalization of the Kaesong park, the only remaining symbol of inter-Korean cooperation.

   The industrial park is deemed one of the major sources of foreign currency income for the cash-strapped country.

   South Korean firms operating in the park raised concerns that a prolonged suspension may drain their own food and material reserves, but the Seoul government remains reluctant to negotiate with the North about food supply to the zone.