S. Korea Cuts Power to Kaesong Park

S. Korea Cuts Power to Kaesong ParkS. Korea Cuts Power to Kaesong Park

South Korea will begin talks with Washington as early as next week on deploying an advanced US missile defense system following North Korea’s rocket launch, an official said on Friday, as Seoul cut power to a factory park run jointly with the North.

The discussions would focus on placing one Terminal High Altitude Area Defense unit with the US military in South Korea after the North’s launch last weekend, a South Korean defense official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Seoul and Washington said the test violated UN Security Council resolutions.

South Korea on Wednesday suspended operations at the Kaesong industrial zone as punishment for the rocket launch and a nuclear test last month. The zone, located just inside North Korea, had operated for more than a decade.

The North called the move “a declaration of war” on Thursday and expelled the South’s workers. Kaesong was the last venue for regular interaction between the divided Koreas.

The 280 South Koreans who had remained in Kaesong rushed to leave the industrial park on Thursday evening, completing the pullout at 11:05 p.m. (14:05 GMT), the South’s Unification Ministry, which handles relations with the North, said.

A few minutes before midnight, the South shut off the supply of electricity into Kaesong that powered the factory zone, the ministry said early on Friday. It also cut the water supply.

The United States, Japan and South Korea are seeking tougher sanctions against the North following the nuclear test and rocket launch.

Isolated North Korea regularly dismisses the South as a puppet of the United States and just as regularly accuses both of acts of war against it.

US military officials have said the THAAD system was needed in South Korea, but Seoul had been reluctant to openly discuss its deployment as it tried to balance its alliance with the United States and ties with China, its biggest trade partner.

China and Russia have expressed concern about the potential deployment of a system that operates a radar that could penetrate deep into their territories.