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Business News/ News / World/  North Korea scraps economic cooperation with South Korea amidst sharp deterioration in ties
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North Korea scraps economic cooperation with South Korea amidst sharp deterioration in ties

The Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea has nullified all agreements aimed at fostering economic cooperation with South Korea, including laws governing the Mount Kumgang tourism project.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a local industrial factory in Gimhwa-gun, North Korea, February 7, 2024, in this picture released by the Korean Central News Agency. KCNA via REUTERS (via REUTERS)Premium
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a local industrial factory in Gimhwa-gun, North Korea, February 7, 2024, in this picture released by the Korean Central News Agency. KCNA via REUTERS (via REUTERS)

The Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea has decided to nullify all agreements aimed at fostering economic cooperation with South Korea, according to the country's state-run KCNA news agency.

As reported by Reuters, this move comes amidst a significant deterioration in relations between the two Koreas.

Meanwhile, the assembly voted to eliminate laws about economic relations with Seoul, including the legislation governing the Mount Kumgang tourism project.

The tours to the scenic mountain just north of the eastern border were a symbol of economic cooperation that began during a period of engagement between the two Koreas in the early 2000s, drawing nearly 2 million South Korean visitors.

Also Read: ‘We left a great trace…’, Kim Jong Un's boasts of North Korea’s achievements at key year-end meet

The Mount Kumgang tourism project was halted in 2008 following an incident where a South Korean tourist was fatally shot by North Korean guards after inadvertently entering a restricted area.

North Korea has declared South Korea as an enemy in a state of war, and in the previous year, it revoked a military agreement signed in 2018. This agreement was designed to reduce tensions near the military border established following a truce that ended the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

Reuters reported that in a pre-recorded interview with state TV KBS aired late on Wednesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol called the shift in North Korea's inter-Korea policy “an extraordinary change" but said it was hard to understand the thinking behind the move.

Also Read: North Korea's Kim says, if US and South Korea opt 'for military confrontation... our army should deal a deadly blow’

“What hasn't changed is that the North has tried for more than 70 years to turn us into Communists, and while doing that, it realized its conventional weapons were insufficient so they went onto nuclear development to threaten us," he said.

Yoon, who has taken a hard line against Pyongyang, said he remains open to engaging the North, even by holding a summit meeting with Kim, and providing aid if it would help its economy, but said the North Korean leadership is “not a rational group."

Since assuming power in 2011, Kim Jong-un has directed North Korea's efforts towards the development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles across different ranges, heightening tensions with South Korea and the United States, despite the country's struggling economy.

Also Read: North Korea's Kim Jong Un orders annihilation of US, South Korea amid confrontation

In a separate report, KCNA stated that Kim Jong-un visited factories responsible for manufacturing consumer goods and food on Wednesday. During the visit, he guided the modernisation of these facilities as part of the implementation of a new regional development strategy.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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Published: 08 Feb 2024, 06:28 AM IST
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